here we go again...
I managed to get the living areas and kitchen clean,
the 'Island' counter with flowers and table runner
instead of a mass of clutter.
We went to Festal Matins for (new calendar) Annunciation
for our evening prayers.
It's really hard being constantly between 2 calendars.
I would of loved to go to liturgy tomorrow,
but we are going to our far-away church tomorrow night,
for Patrick's 40th day service and vigil
and can't do both; so God willing we will have liturgy
for Annunciation at our far-away church,
13 days from now.
I started Mat. Constantina's new book;
it's a fairly easy read, lots to think about.
The parts about her missing Greece are so familiar to me;
I am really missing Ottawa a lot lately;
worse than it's been in months.
I don't know what to do with it.
I think it is in part because it has been so hard these past few months
and that it's been a hard year in a lot of ways.
It's normal for me to wish to go on vacation for a bit when things are
hard; my roommate and I, back in my undergrad days,
used to joke about going on vacation to Europe when those
stressful midterms and papers rolled around.
So I guess i am going to take a deep breath and remind myself of the things
I have learned and been told about my marriage and moving to the States from
Canada... something to hold on to, myself, as I try to ride this wave out.
First, when I was talking to an Abbess that knows me and I trust for advice,
about how I was leaving everything I knew to marry my Husband,
she simply said,
is that not the Gospel?
To leave all to follow Christ?
Second, my Husband's spiritual father, when he gave my not-yet-Husband
the blessing to marry me, told me that I was not losing my
spiritual family in Ottawa, I was merely enlarging my
family, adding new members, it was getting bigger, not smaller.
I was not losing them but gaining others.
Third, my Husband's spiritual father is right.
I would of never gotten to know and love Patrick like I have.
I know many new people and have many reason to be grateful.
Fourth, Elizabeth Elliot's book was one of the first things
I read in my early days of my marriage
and her book
helped me see that where I was now,
as bewildering as it was at times, was where God wanted me.
That I could trust that where I was is indeed the will of God for me,
part of His plans for my life.
There are things I am meant to do here.
There were people waiting for me here, ones I did
not know of who, at least for a time, had need of me in very
I had to leave my spiritual father of 7 years and find a new one,
as he instructed me to do... and I have... it's not the same, no, but
here's something I am still thinking of that my new spiritual father
told me the first year that I was married,
when I told him I was missing Ottawa,
by which I meant the church esp.
He reminded me of St Mary of Egypt and how for years she
struggled with temptations about her former life and wishing to go back.
The music, the fish she ate, the list went on.
There was a reason that my first spiritual father gave me the blessing
to know my Husband (at all, as in email him) if I was willing to leave
Ottawa; he knew how much I loved it there,
how much I was willing to sacrifice to stay.
I have even learned that it is really a kind of mental torture to
continue to wish for that which one cannot have.
Now what I can and can't have, in terms of one day living in
Canada again, I really don't know.
That's the hardest part of it.
Not knowing the will of God for one's future,
down the road a ways.
It took me well over a year to even admit
to my Husband that I had lost something in leaving
Ottawa, while I gained something deeply wonderful in
return, my Husband, my marriage, my new home and life here.
I've struggled with my neighbourhood this past year,
it's been just over a year since we heard the gun shots of a man
murdering a woman. Lord have mercy.
There's been various things here that I have never had to face up close;
I lived in downtown Ottawa, I knew what building and area there was
especially rough. But I never lived in it or really near it.
It's culturally different here.
I went from a church that was very multi-cultural, with a priest who
speaks 4 languages fluently, a deacon with two, with many languages
in liturgy; the Lord's prayer often being said in 4 or 5 languages every liturgy;
while I really only, sadly, know one language, I loved being surrounded by
them... I lived in the capital of Canada where I heard many
languages daily; sometimes I hear someone speaking French here
and it just makes my heart sing.
It took me about a year to adapt to the music of my new far-away church;
now I know it well and I truly love it;
something I still miss so much, and I think will until my dying day,
is how my Ottawa parish knelt (other than the Paschal times) for the
Concentration of the Holy Gifts.
The sense of the Holy.
The sense of repentance happening.
Lord have mercy, I could weep just thinking of it.
I remember at my far-away church and once glancing at Patrick,
sitting in his chair, and realizing how deeply he was concentrating
and in prayer; how hard it is for me to pray now;
I never prayed well but I still feel like I am missing the
"cues" that I used to have, that my heart knew
and responded to.
But I can say that God has still been merciful to me.
That He has shown many times that He is still with me as
I try to make my life here.
It is said that a new grief will often open up
old griefs and that things mingle in this way,
grief hitting grief,
grief opening another door of grief,
as it were.
So, I will keep doing what I am to do here.
Continue to struggle to build a life here;
enjoy what I have, like NYC and Trader Joes nearby,
and my two churches, many new friends,
my life with my beloved husband,
and try to keep carving out the life God wants me to have here.
These songs are what I listened to a lot when I was newly married
and still hold a lot for me today:
And this song, I can't say enough about it.
In the end, as she sings,
it is Christ who I need, in front,
behind, inside me, behind, everywhere.
CHRIST is the location I need to be rooted in,
not Canada, not Ottawa, CHRIST, and being in Christ
in His Church...