My name is Charley and I am addicted to word games and puzzles. Playing Words with Friends on my computer or solving the Cryptoquote puzzle in the newspaper is mostly a fun way to be by myself for a few moments and avoid doing other things. Occasionally the cryptoquote inspires me or at least gets me to think about what it says. The other day I encountered one by Audre Lorde: “When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
For some reason, this spoke to me. I have been aware lately of feeling less than powerful. What holds me back? Is it fear? If so, what am I afraid of? As a woman,I know the barriers well. Historically, strong women have been burned at the stake, drowned as witches, locked up in mental institutions. I could be a strong, angry feminist. But I’m not. I’m a Quaker. That means that I recognize the source of power and strength. If I do things on my own without a sense of spiritual guidance, I will fail. I need to use my power and strength in the service of my vision, but that vision needs come from a deeply grounded place.
There’s a line in a Sacred Harp song alluding to the Psalmist hanging his harp on the willows, weeping in the midst of Israel’s captivity in Babylon: “With all the power and skill I have, I’ll gently touch each string; If I can reach the charming sound, I’ll tune my harp again.” I’ve always loved that image of reconnecting with the Divine within, finding that sweet chord of inner harmony.