Name: Nadine Hoover
Alfred MM, FSRM, NYYM
Branch: Liberal Quaker
I wear the same clothes for decades. Black pants, shirt, underwear, jacket. But simple means a direct relationship with others and the Earth and in this manner, it is still far from simple. I don’t know the flow that the materials and labors have flown through to get these clothes to me or the nature of those events and relationships, so I don’t consider this simple in the manner I prefer.
Today if I need clothes, I go to the list that Kristina Perry gave all her wedding guests and order from the list. I’m changed and made greater by friends in my circle who do their good work and share it with the rest of us.
Learning about the flow–where all the elements of the clothes came from and where they will go beyond me–takes a great deal of time. We are meeting locally and working together on “getting to know” the flows that bring us household items. We have not gotten to clothes ourselves yet, but hopefully will.
I have enlisted of a couple artists to design t-shirts and pants, possibly from bamboo as a renewable resource, to reflect our identity visually and materially. People cloth ourselves in identity–thoughts, feelings and understandings. Learning to express them clearly, directly and accessibly goes hand in hand with learning the material of the elements of any clothing.
Then there’s the other clothing–titles, positions, obligations. I laid down my positions and titles many years ago. I also “laid down my strain and stress,” to “let my ordered life confess the beauty of Thy peace.” At first I realized the addiction, the way in which busy-ness and stress made me feel (falsely) connected and valued. It took away to adjust to the chemistry of nakedness and a direct relationship with life. Now it has become an occupation.
A friend, with whom we had been working specifically on building a meeting for some years, became frustrated and blurted out, “Meeting should not take over your life.” The expression on my face must have said it all. I was stunned. Such an idea had never occurred to me. Of course it takes over one’s whole life! What’s the point if it does not. I saw the flash of realization cross her face. She said, “Ah.” That was all that was said, but after that we put our whole selves in to this day.
Much love and faith,
P.S. I strongly object to forcing the choice of identity above. Generations of Friends who raised me and I would not accept any of those distinctions since we are a “united” Friends community and are more concerned with the complexity of the whole picture, not any particular sliver of perspective.