My daily routine usually starts with a two-mile walk on an athletic track near my home. It’s an energizing way to begin the day, scooting along as fast as I can go, greeting everyone I encounter (often reflecting on the phrase "walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one"). Early mornings find me out there in all kinds of weather and all seasons. That half hour of steaming along gives me a chance to reflect and pray, along with offering cheerful greetings. The prayer most often in my heart is one of gratitude, elicited from me by the unfailing beauty of the surrounding trees, stream, and sky. (Of course, there is so much more to be grateful for, and those things press in on me too, as the well of gratitude is opened.)
But I find it is also a time to hold the world and its troubles in the Light. Deeply breathing the fresh air, beholding the early morning sky, listening to bird song, I find myself in a place that touches on the timeless—that bridges seasons, life passages, the upheaval and turmoil of political and social change. It is there that I have found it easiest to pray for our nation’s leaders, there that I have sought the wisdom and courage to pray rightly for Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, there that I have most eloquently lodged my plea for peace in this world with the Almighty.
In November, when our national elections appeared to give our current administration a mandate to plow full speed ahead towards war with Iraq (and who knows how many other peoples), it was difficult to maintain a positive focus. My mood seemed to match the cold, rainy, gray days as I squooshed around the soggy track. I found, however, as I let the energy of this walking/reflection/prayer discipline carry me through the days, what lifted me was my cold and barren surroundings, because—they so clearly seemed to be saying to me—"it is in darkness that the seed is born, it is in a world that seems cold and lifeless that new beginnings are made, that new life stirs." The womb is a dark place, perhaps as dark as the soil where germination takes place. The promise of renewal that lies hidden in dark and devastated times is an eternal one that penetrates the center of the Creation, that is at the heart of the Resurrection. On this I know we can depend. Walking towards that light that lies over the ocean of darkness, perceiving—even if only dimly—what that bright and beautiful world looks like, is what gives me hope in the dark times. I know they will have their end, and that when they do, something beautiful and new will
I must turn now to something I deeply regret and for which I must offer you, our readers, an apology. Early this past autumn, we began to have unprecedented difficulties with the printing of Friends Journal. Quite a few of you have had to endure copies of the magazine improperly bound with pages missing, all have been receiving the magazine much later than its normal schedule, and others have failed to receive it altogether. It quickly became apparent that we would need to find a new printer. So while we researched, screened, and evaluated new printers, we were forced to endure worsening problems a while longer. We here at the Journal offer you our sincere apologies for this; bringing you a quality publication on time is always our goal. I’m pleased (and relieved) to report that the issue you hold in your hand has been produced by our new printer, and we anticipate that the recent difficulties will cease to be a problem. We offer replacement copies to you for any issues you missed or that were improperly bound (please be in touch with us about this at [email protected]). We sincerely thank you for your forbearance.