“People Don’t Come to a Memorial for the Brownies!”


They say God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.

Bullshit. [17:04 -18:20, especially]

Yesterday, I get a phone call from my Meeting’s facilities manager* telling me that the memorial scheduled for this coming Saturday is now a double memorial. (I’m the clerk of FMC’s Memorial Committee.) What was to have been a celebration for the life of a son, age 50, who died New Year’s Eve, will now also celebrate the life of his father, who died this past weekend. Oh, yes, and the mother/ex-wife is in the hospital recovering from surgery!

Although it has been pointedly pointed out to me that people do not come to a memorial for the brownies, as clerk of the committee responsible for an FMC memorial reception, I strive for abundance. I want to see the three, tableclothed tables in the middle of FMC’s commodious Friends Room absolutely covered with overflowing platters!

Usually, when someone well-known, well-connected at Meeting has died, abundance is not an issue. (We have delivered leftover food to a homeless shelter from time to time.)  But because so very few people at FMC actually know this tragic family (they’ve not been attending Meeting for some time), it seems likely that very few people from FMC—and their overflowing platters—will come on Saturday.

So after speaking with John, I sent an SOS to Meeting’s list-serv—and, God bless ’em, several people quickly and warmly and generously responded.


I believe both these things are true:

Many people face way more than any human being can possibly endure and are irrevocably broken.

Through simple acts of kindness and generosity—yes: brownies!—we manifest “that of God”in ourselves and to others and, sometimes, sometimes, we assuage broken-ness.

* John Field, a wonderful guy, who, among other responsibilities, books Friends Meeting at Cambridge events, arranges parking, supervises the Center Residents who wash the tablecloths and mop the floors, etc.

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  1. Just because we continue breathing doesn’t mean we have “handled” things. Many would then say “Let go and let God” or “Have more faith.” and then there’s the “This will make you stronger.” Stronger for WHAT?, I want to scream. For something that requires more fortitude than I’ve displayed in the past?

    This truth I know: the load is less burdensome if someone stands alongside and finds a way to somehow assist. Presence and flowing platters, in this case.

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