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"I was the first son of my mother," Andreas told me in a wonderfully old world, storyteller kind of way. He told me how he was born in a tiny village on Cyprus. The midwife, helping his mother into the birthing chair, had called on St Andrew for help, and he was named after the saint.

St Andrew on Sunday

"I was the first son of my mother," Andreas told me in a wonderfully old world, storyteller kind of way. He told me how he was born in a tiny village on Cyprus. The midwife, helping his mother into the birthing chair, had called on St Andrew for help, and he was named after the saint. He started talking to me by asking if I'd seen the 355 bus go by. He was pleased to know I was an Andrea, too, and let loose with a stream of heavily accented English, starting with the story of how he was named.

He stood there chatting with me awhile as I waited at the bus stop just outside the Greek club on Enmore Rd. Then he gently took my hand, palm up, and read my palm for me. "Oh! This is very good. Much love, much happiness," he remarked after tracing a finger over my overwarm, slightly damp palm. Just the type of thing that every fortune teller says. He asked me if I liked to play an instrument (I replied that I liked to but didn't think I was any good), and he predicted three children for me if I got married.

Our conversation ended as my bus, the 428, pulled up and I climbed aboard. I was on my way to Surry Hills, where the Sydney Quaker meeting house stands. I'd been going off and on since I first went with my dad during his visit. It was a good place to center myself after a busy week and find a little peace. This week as I sat in silence I read in the Gospel of Mark: "Listen to me, all of you, and understand this: nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him; no, it is the things that come out of a person that defile him." I thought about that, and Andreas, turning them over in my mind at different times during the silent hour. Afterwards, I bought the new Australian Quaker book, This We Can Say. In the front, it has the famous quote from George Fox, the founder of Quakerism:

You will say, Christ saith this, and the apostles say this; but what canst thou say? Art thou a child of Light and hast walked in the Light, and what thou speakest is it inwardly from God?

Where I am now in my spiritual life is this very question. What can I say? I don't know, but I hope I am getting little pieces of it out here.

At 02-02-2004 04:33PM The Dad smjames12@yahoo.com commented:

Sometimes it's not what we say or think but what we do.

I know I cannot think my way into right living.

I believe I can live my way into right thinking.

Isn't sharing a moment with a stranger and making them feel welcome, part of what the Carpenter was trying to teach us?

At 02-02-2004 04:58PM ARJ roceal@jngm.net commented:

I agree there's more than what we say or think, but in the context of Quakerism, I do believe it's meant that you speak out of experience, which should mean that you HAVE lived it. Of course you and I both know of folks who just talk like they know everything anyway. ;-)

About the Geek Icon

This is the weblog of a computer geek with a thousand interests, documenting the ins and outs, ups and downs of her daily life. A dual citizen of the US and Australia who has settled (for the time being) in Sydney. Read more about her on the bio page.

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