Each summer — as the program year winds down — we invite Fellows to reflect on their experience and write a testimonial to share with Friends. Sarah Bluett, a young adult Fellow who served in Philadelphia during the 2019-2020 program year, shares reflections on her spiritual journey below.
My spiritual journey conveniently functions as both a broad yet identifiable phrase for others to know or later indicate in a longer conversation. I am a young adult Christian who believes in a Spirit/God/Entity, etc. It also acts as a personal project, something close to me — an ongoing sojourn to find spiritual resonance and God amidst others. It feels almost intangible when talked about, but the resonance itself I imagine like a patchwork quilt, with pieces of fabric resembling the shared moments with myself and others when there was a groundedness in and deep awareness of the spirit. Some pieces are saved from my mother’s deep love of liturgy and the sacraments and some from my dad’s earnest love for Jesus, marking the values my parents instilled into me early on. These fabrics feel like home as I pull the edges around to cover me when I don’t have the answers.
“I imagine [my spiritual journey] like a patchwork quilt, with pieces of fabric resembling the shared moments with myself and others when there was a groundedness in and deep awareness of the spirit.”
Over the past four years, I have experienced God amidst many different places, faces, and homes. My spiritual home exists both Within and Among those who are open to it. I have been meeting with my Spiritual Nurturer, JoAnn Seaver, and have found a place to deconstruct my views of organized religion and also to express my frustrations with Christianity, and the denominations I’ve been associated within my life. And so, sometimes, old patches need to be fixed and filled in with new patchwork, new experiences of spiritual resonance. A deconstruction of sorts, and rebuilding, a restitching.
This year, I’ve been able to live in a spiritually mindful home with seven other Quaker Voluntary Service Fellows in Philadelphia. We experiment with house worship, peer clearness for things regarding familial dynamics and romantic relationships, and contemplative space to ask any pressing questions. These experiences feel restorative and refreshing, while sometimes this patchwork quilt of beliefs I have can feel isolating. Meanwhile, I recently attended a Dinner Service with friends from the Oregon Extension, a program in the Southern Cascade mountains where we heard from professors who taught theology, ecofeminism, and the like. It reminded me how I feel most grounded in the contemplative spaces to explore how spirituality affects broader systems.
For me, I want to continue to find ways to draw value from tradition and history, and the spirit has led me to the intersection of faith, food, and community. Intentional communities nurture my connection to an Inner Wisdom and God, and I feel my beliefs are most embodied when I am cultivating spaces where simplicity and equality are considered core values. It builds upon my experience with Quakerism this year as it has allowed me to connect my faith with spaces that I thought were secular or strictly religious spaces. I hope to find God Amidst, to continue to search for a spiritual resonance. I hope to see it in less of a piecemeal approach, but something that can exist simultaneously as something whole, yet still evolving.
More about Sarah
Sarah Bluett grew up in small town Northeastern Wisconsin where she was an active member in the local community. She moved on to attend St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and completed an Individual Major titled Local Identities: Business and Community Sustainability. She spent two semesters off-campus during her undergraduate career, one program in rural Tuscany called Sustainable Agriculture, Food, and Justice and the other a Mennonite-affiliated program in the Southern Cascade Mountains called the Oregon Extension. Sarah fostered a deep appreciation for intentional community and a commitment to cooperating with others to facilitate change through social, economic, and environmental justice movements.
An advocate for connectedness, she believes strongly in the power of active listening and intentional questioning as a means of improving empathy and relationship building skills. Sarah’s other passions lie in food justice, one-on-one conversations over home-cooked meals, and good-humored fun. Sarah worked at Pennsylvania Health Access Network during her QVS year.