Sunday, August 28, 2011

Long Weekend

We are readying for sleep here after a meeting with our Priest which blurred into Vigil, Divine Litury this morning and an early Vespers. Tomorrow we'll be off early for Liturgy again. It does not feel burdensome. I don't feel tired. I look forward to tomorrow.

Beautiful services.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Who am I?

I am a catechumen at an unusual- or so I am told- parish. There is nothing about it that is unusual to me, and the lens I have donned to view it through seems to work just as well on other parishes. Am I in a golden period of my knowledge of the Church, where I can see no wrong with it? This is something I have heard others refer to, but I am not sure if they speak honestly or with a jaded tongue because they can not share my innocence. I mean that- I know what it is like to speak badly of an experience one can't have oneself. I have done that, may I never again.

What is unusual about Saint Nicholas, my parish? I don't know. Again, a few people have suggested it has a unique quality. How would I know? Everything I know about the Church in person is there. I have made many friends- and discovered some people I do not immediately connect with- in my short time there. None of the less than amazing interactions has changed my view of the Church. I think it is to be expected that not everyone gets on right from the start. I am hard to get to know- and hard to like I might add. I have 4 young children that are not always likable. (Believe me, I know) In some cases, I have a language barrier. I am really amazed at how many people have befriended my family.

Sometimes I recall what Father said during my first meeting with him, when we set a date for the Prayer of the Catechumens. After I spilled all to him he said,

"I wonder how I will disappoint you."

Father is like that. I hold on to his words. I think I remember just about everything he has ever said to me, or in my presence. But he has not disappointed me. Neither have his fellows, the people of the church. Our Reader, our Deacon, the many parishioners. I know this can't be the case for everyone because I read so many stories of people who do not have parishes they get on within, don't like the Priest and so on. Perhaps that is what is unusual about Saint Nicholas, or maybe it is what is unusual about me.

I have to stop thinking about how others see me. Am I just a convert, naive, who just hasn't seen flaws in the Church yet? These attitudes are common- although I must say I have not felt any of them in person. I have a Church that accepts me. These are people who don't laugh at my innocent love for the Church. The friends who sponsor me and Tikhon, and many of the friends we have made newly are living examples of Orthodox people who are not complacent, jaded, or bored. Friendship with these people is a gift that I will accept wholeheartedly in the hope that I can give as much.

I am very happy with my catechism and the time it is taking. The more I learn, the more patient I feel with the process. I am not joining a church as if it were the Boyscouts. I am doing something so amazing, so permanent, and so good. I want to be doing it with every part of me, in full knowledge and readiness. I look forward to Holy Week with every fiber of my being.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Today is Tikhon's Name Day.

Here is where we show are newness to the Church. Our first 'name day"! What do we do? We don't know.

Today is the feast day of Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk, my husband's patron saint. It is also a fast day, so I will make a vegan cake. What is traditional for your family's name days? With a family of 6, we will have a lot of them, and I would like to grow a tradition surrounding them.

Dear Tikhon, my husband:
May you hear your name from grandchildren and great-grandchildren!

Our oldest turned 9

Tristan, our first born, turned 9 on the 9th of August. This is hard to believe. How can it have been so long? And yet, as with all our babies, it is as though we have always had him.

With everything that has gone on, we weren't able to lavish him with gifts and surprises. but he was happy to receive a new book:

The Dangerous Book for Boys
Kids Newport H2 Water Shoe Navy 3 Youth

Tristan chose to use some gifted money to buy a new pair of shoes. He picked out a great pair of KEENs and is really glad he chose them. He comments on them almost every day. He also got several gifts from friends.

The parish sang Tristan Happy Birthday last Sunday. Our prayer group sang it for him last night with cake and all. Happy Birthday, Tristan!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Shift

I am sorry I have been sparse here. Something has happened. Our homeschool year begins next Monday, so the only books I have been reading have been those that we will be using for school. I am hopeful that once we find our step this year I will have some free time to read my Orthodox books, but i am enjoying what I am reading for our home school. For example,

Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (Bilingual Edition)This is an amazing translation. I can hardly put it down. I began reading it myself and realized quickly that I should read aloud to Tristan, otherwise I would be too far ahead of him when this book came up in the schedule. So in some ways, our study of the Middle Ages has already begun.

I have mentioned before that I already have a homeschool journal. . I am not sure how I will document Age of Triumph and all the rest we are doing this year- there or here? So much of it belongs here, or maybe it all belongs there. My main hesitation is the use of the homeschool blog for recordsharing with my ES from the charter. I do not know what her reaction will be to the various Orthodox aspect of our curriculum, but I will be finding out tomorrow, as that is the day of our meeting.

Transfiguration 2011

Thursday, August 4, 2011

New experience

I will stumble over words to say this, I know.

I have never experienced life in the way the Church does causes me to. I was raised in a Christian tradition, so I know about the life of Christ and 'facts' from the Gospels. I remember learning about Jesus's baptism by John the Baptist and other things of this sort. But they were never given context, or a sense of 'now'. They were just cool things to know in a world where all you had to do to be saved was accept Jesus once. They were matters of curiosity about the past and had no real bearing on us.

But that is not like this experience of God. In this experience, we are fasting for the sickbed of the Theotokos, and Christ is both Risen and newly born. At Vespers we heard the song story of the Resurrection, it is all both happening now- has already occurred- and is also but a hope. No one can be complacent. The Church Year, and how these feasts are brought to life, is amazing to me. This way of experiencing God is captivating. Somehow it plays a huge part in every moment I breathe as an Orthodox Christian.

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