Plain in the city

A plain Quaker folk singer with a Juris Doctorate in his back pocket, salt in his blood, and a set of currach oars in the closet, Ulleann Pipes under his arm, guitar on his back, Anglo Irish baggage, wandering through New York City ... in constant amaze. Statement of Faithfulness. As a member of the Quaker Bloggers Ad Hoc Committee I affirm that I will be faithful to the Book of Discipline of my Meeting 15th Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Miracles continued:

I gave a message several months ago. I wrote about it here...
"Discipline thyself to love, it makes all things new
Discipline thyself to joy, it makes all things bearable
Discipline thyself to faith, it makes all things possible"

Last week, I was made to add the rest of the message This is close to what came to me in meeting. "I restated the above and said that these were disciplines in preparation for another discipline. They lead us to the greatest discipline... worship.
Worship here in Meetings is in preparation worship. This teaches us to worship in every moment of our lives.

I have an announcement to those who go to hear me play music that I think will give ye joy. I have decided to retire from performing music forever. (shocked and amused looks) My band mate and I discovered something. We must stop performing and worship with those who want to hear us. We did such a concert last Friday. We settled into silence with the listeners, after telling them we were Quakers and that we speak out of silence and tonight would sing out of silence. When they were ready to listen and we were ready to play, we played better than we ever had, no fear, because we stopped performing. The difference between worship and performing was the expectation of return... applause, understanding, all the things we perform for we put aside and gave the music with not an expectation in return. I now know that I must put away all performance... not perform my life but worship each moment. Expect NOTHING back from life... give. Service without thought of thanks, without thought of need to even succeed in the help I offer, give all my all and if God wills it, good will follow, or a tree can fall on all I worked for, and I praise and worship on as ever."

I have been learning about miracles... one I have driven friends close to me crazy with these days. It is, at the moment an important metaphor for me.

I used to go canoeing ... well everywhere. I knew what I was doing as could not imagine anything bad happening. The winter I got into law school, a number of us were going out onto the Hudson for a wee trip. Our landlord, Kathy, with whom I was in serious conflict, wanted to come. Everyone paired up quick, and there was only room in my boat, so I ... believing I should as we were in conflict, called her over and tossing the ballast out of my boat told her she could come in my boat.

We left below Canal street and headed north. Soon we were off the Intrepid Museum, off mid town. For some reason I will never know... Kathy took a lurch. I grabbed at the opposite gunnel ,but I could see green water under the rail and knew we were in for it. I suddenly was facing the river rushing at my face then stillness.

The gray green of the river was gone. I was suspended in freezing water, about seven or eight feet down, all around me emerald light, fading to dark below and silver above. I wondered at such an odd dream. The feel of sharp salt water rushing through my nose into me made me realize it was not a dream. I felt comfortable and lazy, and very very sad. All I had wanted to do, but, well here I was drifting away in freezing water.

I looked up at the simmering silver and thought ... there is life. There is salvation. And forced myself to the surface. I was already too cold and in shock and there was too much wind and chop to drain the canoe by forcing it under and letting it jump up, and I knew the only thing was to get on the overturned boat. I did. I looked to shout to the others... my voice was nearly gone and they were far away by now and not looking back.

Next to me Kathy was treading water. "What do we do now, Otway?" she asked.
"Get on the bloody boat," I told her, cause when in a moment or two you begin to freeze and sink, there is nothing I can do for it."
She got on the boat with me, and I don't remember much about her from then on. All I remember is having to raise my head out of the water to breath, and that I could not feel myself gripping the boat from the moment I climbed on to it, and I knew there was not a hope in the world.

Soon a speed boat full of party guys began to circle us. I remember their wake now keeping my head under long enough, again and again to know I would soon drown. Each time water would pour down my through my nose, and I would beg, just under my breath as I gasped for air, "no... please stop... please stop it."

At last they slowed and gently lay along side our boat. They kept calling us to get in. I knew that if I let go of the boat, I would slip under. At last they put down their beer cans and hauled us over into their boat.

Getting towards the surface was choosing to live. Getting onto the boat was putting myself in God's hand. Kathy was calling me back into the river, and again and again there were temptations to get into the river. I am now beginning to see how often we put ourselves in God's hands and then the river and those in the river call us, in so many ways. They call us to help them, and instead of saying all I can tell thee is get on the boat, we get into the river with them. Some go overboard and offer no help at all, say there is no room on the boat. On that boat all things are Gods. If thee has on that boat and another in the water needs, give with no thought of thanks, that which you gave was never thy own... But stay out of the river


At 12:40 AM, Blogger rysolag said...


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At 6:34 AM, Blogger Lorcan said...

dear Blogladder:
I am glad my post touched thy soul. lorcan

At 7:01 PM, Blogger Amanda said...

haHAHAA....nice one, a blogspambot.

And great post, Lor...

At 4:25 PM, Blogger Daithí said...

I do remember that day.

Ye Quakers are most kind in conveying such things.

At 6:58 AM, Blogger Rich in Brooklyn said...

Some comments about Lorcan's story of his canoeing accident and near-disaster.

First, Glad you made it!

Second, I noticed that at one point you "...knew there was not a hope in the world". It's good for all of us to remember that the things we "know" sometimes just aren't so. Especially when we "know" there is no hope in one situation or another.

Third, I can't help thinking about "Kathy" and the speed boat full of party guys. Both gave you some reason to be angry: Kathy by making being clumsy and "lurching" and the party guys by not knowing at first what they should do to help. BUT... the bottom-line truth about Kathy is that she, like you, almost died that day through no conscious fault of her own. And the bottom-line truth about the speed boat full of party guys with their cans full of beer is that they saved two people's lives.

Praise God!

At 10:02 AM, Blogger Lorcan said...

Ye Quakers are most kind in conveying such things. Daithi is right... assume nothing, I will tell thee personally why Kathy overturned the boat... no, she was not without fault... no anger here, no pointing fingers... oh Rich I am so tempted...


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