I've been re-reading Aldo Leapold's Sand County Almanack (thanks to James and Kristen) and realized this is a spiritual language I'm comfortable with -- it speaks to me in truly religious ways. Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek is in the same category. I see God in Nature, in a complex math problem, in the many ways people express themselves (art, music, literature or poetry, etc.) I believe that there is good (God) in everyone that connects us all.
As a young person, I was exposed to many ideas about faith. Important influences on my spiritual development were Buddhist readings (particularly Zen Flesh Zen Bones), Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, the Tao, and the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson. I did not attend church until I was in college, when I started attending the Unitarian Universalist Church. I was extremely active there for the next 30+ years. I have never practiced Christianity and so I don't have the Christian background many Quakers do -- whether they are embracing Jesus or reacting against a more rigid Christian religion. I simply don't find Jesus any more or less compelling than any other historical figure.
How I came to Quakers
When beliefnet.com was first around, I took the "what's your religion" quiz. It said I was 96% UU. But it also said I was 100% Liberal Quaker. (I've always wondered what that 4% was based on -- it didn't say. Social equality, peace and simplicity were particularly important to me, but those were also UU traits) I searched for a Toledo Quaker group and finally decided one didn't exist -- but always kept Quakers in the back of my mind, thinking it would be interesting to check it out.
Years later, I met Judy in a writer's group (a Unitarian group, BTW) We became friends, and I found out she was a Quaker. Long story short, we came with her one Sunday, and have been coming ever since. Thanks Judy!
The community we've found here really means a lot to me, and the Silence sustains me.