Finding a place for yourself in a new community is not easy. One way is to join existing groups, and we have been invited into some interesting activities. Recently we went on the monthly walk arranged by ex- teacher Margaret who is evidently very good at reconnaissance and research. The delightful village of Rawden was our destination. Its history goes back to pre-1066. The Conquerer granted lands around the manor to its owner, Paulyn, to thank him for his loyalty. We were escorted around the village, visited the parish church originating in 1645 but not completed until 1684 ( the English Civil War got in the way). We were impressed with Rawdon Billing, a well known hill seen from miles around the surrounding countryside. Fortunately we were not invited to climb it.
The Quakers have a simple but beautiful meeting house in Rawden, set in a lovely garden and built in 1697. We were met there by the present Clerk who explained some of the history and the present activity of the membership.
In the pews there were copies of ‘Advices and Queries’, a booklet which is ‘ intended to be a challenge and inspiration to Friends in their personal lives and their life as a religious community’. Its a searching document, and I asked if I might have a copy, and have been reading it with profit. Here is some of it’s wise advice for those of us who may be be moving towards the end-time of our lives.
‘Approach old age with courage and hope. As far as possible make arrangememts for your care in good time, so that an undue burden does not fall on others. Although old age may bring increasing disability and loneliness, it can also bring serenity, detachment and wisdom. Pray that in your final years you may be enabled to find new ways of receiving and reflecting God’s love.
Are you able to contemplate your death and the death of those who are closest to you? Accepting the fact of death, we are freed to live more fully.
In bereavement, give yourself time to grieve. When others mourn, let your love embrace them.’