*Afterthought #75—Guidance from the Road

This month’s Afterthought has travelled a long way, as I’m part way through a trip to England. It’s my first time in the UK, and the introduction has been especially rich as it’s included a conference with the international group Quakers Uniting in Publications (QUIP) and a tour of the “the cradle of Quakerism.”

My travels are giving me a lot to think about, so perhaps this is more a forethought than an afterthought. But, this last-day-of-the- month post is brief as usual and was prompted by a road sign in the village of Grasmere in the Lake District of Northwest England.

town sign

Much of my spiritual journey has focused on “giving way”—to the Divine, to the release of fear and worry, and to forces such as nature over which I have no control. Those acts of “giving way” challenge me.

These past few days, as I’ve sat in 17th C. meeting houses, walked through Quaker burial grounds, and read about early Quakers such as George Fox, Margaret Fell Fox, and many others who were persecuted for believing they had a direct connection with God, I’ve thought of their courage in not giving way to the Church of England and government. Of being able to carry the load of leading other seekers and putting their faith into action in ways that have endured for over 300 years.

However I look at it, though, the guidance to “give way” is good on the road, and in my heart.

*Afterthoughts are my blog version of a practice followed in some Quaker meetings. After meeting for worship ends, people continue in silence for a few more minutes during which they’re invited to share thoughts or reflect on the morning’s worship. I’ve adopted the form here for last-day-of-the-month brief reflections on headlines, quotes, books, previous posts, maybe even bumper stickers.


  1. Dear Iris,

    Once again I am inspired by your Afterthoughts…and will share with Friends here in my Newsletter. “Your Give Way” is perfect for my life at the moment and to use as my Fifth Month Thoughts, to lead off my communication.

    Will you be going to Yearly Meeting in Britain? I hope you are able to do that.

    There will be a few Australian Friends there–I have told them to seek you out and give you an appropriate Australian Quaker hug.

    Warm regards, Jacque

    1. Thank you dear Jacque. I so appreciate hearing when my thoughts touch others.

      And YES, I’m going to Britain Yearly Meeting! I’ll watch for Australian Friends, will collect on the hugs, and will send a U.S. Quaker hug back with them for you.

      With gratitude for your friendship,

    2. Hi Jacque – thank you for your continued support and for encouraging Australian Friends to seek me out at Britain Yearly Meeting. What a joy it was the very first night to discover the man next to me at the tea counter was Michael! We introduced ourselves to each other and exchanged hugs! I met Ronis, too, so the two of them have American Quaker hugs to share with you when you see them again. So grateful for our virtual friendship.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I was referred by a friend David Bentley to read this after he read a recent post on my blog http://LetAllWhoAreThirstyCome.com called “Remembering to Forget”… The releasing is a common theme of my pilgrimage walks on the Camino de Santiago so I am grateful to read about the experiences of others.


  3. Thanks for commenting, Mel. And give my thanks to David for referring you to my blog. The Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage I’ve dreamed of taking. Your posts are giving me a taste.

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