In the commercials for the company which makes the "easy button," some sort of complicated office mess is cleaned up by hitting the "easy button". I could have used that while organizing the panel discussion for Saturday night.
After much pulling of teeth, four young adults were wrangled for a panel discussion on growing up in NCYM-C. My answer to one of the questions seemed to touch quite a few people, so I'm going to try to reproduce it here.
Do you have any fond or valuable memories of older Friends that have been meaningful to you on a continuing basis. Did you find any role models among Yearly Meeting Friends outside your immediate family?
Anytime that I am sitting in worship feeling cranky about a leading to speak, I think of Alfred Newlin. He was a recorded minister in a tiny rural meeting in Alamance County. Towards the end of his life, as he was losing his battle with lung cancer, he would sometimes have coughing fits that took him out of worship. For the last few months at least, he was coughing bright red blood into his handkerchief. I remember being told that Alfred was refusing to take the painkillers that his doctors had prescribed because he was afraid of becoming addicted to them, so I imagine he was in a great deal of pain. Every First Day that I was able to attend West Grove, Alfred stood up and gave his message and I never heard him complain. Not about having an incurable cancer, not about the pain, not about death, and never about having to keep up his ministry as he was dying.
I told this story on a panel that I really didn't want to take part in. I thought leading Bible Study was enough. I was still recovering from a migraine I had gotten that afternoon. And I really thought that since the panel was my father's idea that he should have been the one trying to convince people to sit on it. Okay, I still think that. But in the end, I think that the panel went well and I'm glad I participated. It wasn't that hard to talk about the things that we were asked to talk about (especially since many of them were conversations that we as YAFs have had with each other over and over and over). In the end, getting a couple young ladies' butts in the seats and crying a little as I talked about Alfred Newlin wasn't hard at all. In fact, it might well have been an occasion for Sid to use his "easy button."