More Conversation

John, the first time I read through the second chapter of your Journal (1743–1748), I didn’t have much reply.  My own state of heart was pretty barren.  On this second time through, I’m finding some reflections in my own life.

I had a great regard for him, and felt a strong inclination, after matters were settled, to speak to him concerning his conduct in that case; but being a youth, and he far advanced in age and experience, my way appeared difficult; after some days’ deliberation, and inward seeking to the Lord for assistance, I was made subject, so that I expressed what lay upon me in a way which became my youth and his years; and though it was a hard task to me it was well taken, and I believe was useful to us both.

That’s an experience I have had, though less and less as I age.  I’ve heard it referred to as “youngering.”  Sometimes, those who have less status or fewer years have a clear role in reminding their elders of the Guide and principles that they profess to live by.

Perhaps the most important clause in that passage is, “I was made subject.”  It’s an unusual phrasing for me.  I think you mean that you were made subject to the guidance of the Lord and thus enabled to express what you had to say tactfully and clearly.

As a teenager I was one of two dispatched by my peers to request some changes in schedule for our Quaker Youth Pilgrimage.  The older Friends I was asking had planned the schedule months or years before but were somehow willing to bend to meet our wishes in this regard.  I had been similarly anxious before the meeting, but appealed to the Lord for assistance.  Our adult leaders heard our concerns and met our needs.  My heart was thankful and relieved afterward.

It’s a blessing to find that my experiences 35 years ago bear some similarity to yours from 275 years ago.