REHOBOTH MILLS: A desire for greater unity with Ohio Friends has led me to withdraw from partaking of alcohol, even though it has been a worldly pleasure to me and is so much a part of the working situation I find myself in. Yet new spiritual strength arises in saying no. I acknowledge a need to get more physical exercise; some of the motels I stay in have indoor swimming pools, and I need to return to swimming laps more diligently. And I need to return to weekly hiking, which seems to help both my body and mind. Spiritual practice requires physical control as well. When our health and strength are carelessly impaired, our service to Him is weakened; we owe Him the best service we can muster.

JANE’S FALLS: The caffeine addiction remains, perhaps as an occupational hazard – especially for one who works nights. During my year of general isolation, as I concentrated upon extended writing, I was able to abstain from alcohol. These days I’m not as steadfast in that testimony, although moderation holds in any use.

One thing Friends should bear in mind about drug abuse: as an expatriate Czechoslovakian psychiatrist who was involved in the early testing of LSD once remarked to me, “There are only two alternatives, drugs and meditation.” Our silent waiting on the Lord is a more difficult, and more sustaining, course. But without this feeling we get from our life in the Holy Spirit together, life would be much flatter – or less abundant. What so many seek in drugs is a counterfeit to that, but the only way they’ve encountered. A traditional “Christian” approach has always failed to strike me with the fullness of our Quaker experience, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

While I enjoy hiking and can once again do some mountain climbing, I feel a need to embark on a program of regular physical exercise, something that will benefit my arms and chest, especially. That will probably be a chronic concern for this sedentary creature. Another concern is maintaining a balanced diet, something that seems more difficult when cooking for one than when cooking for a family.

WILLOW BROOK: Oh, how I came to enjoy the late-night martini at the end of the night shift! Or the beer my wife and I brewed and bottled or the wines we’ve explored!

My lack of regular exercise has been addressed in the past year, thanks to a pass to the city’s indoor pool, where I’m now swimming nearly a half-mile a day – admittedly, with some effort and many breaks.


For more Seasons of the Spirit, click here.


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