It is funny how we can share an experience but for each person it is different. For me going to the OCA Cathedral (still exhausted from a hard-hitting head cold), it was at times overwhelming. Beautiful, yes; and when all of the clergy would sing alone—wow—I do not know if I have ever heard live the deep richness of the male liturgical voice. But I confess that the liturgy was very tiring, with an ordination and lots of other stuff, not to mention a hierarchal liturgy. So I left afterwards for a good little while [maybe 20 minutes, hard to say] and went across the road to my little Carpatho-Russian Church, Christ the Saviour, and had a small lunch there with my church and sat and talked with my friend Terri. I do not think my beloved friends at the Cathedral even noticed (or they did not mention it). I just needed to see some familiar faces! And get my priest's blessing (finally I could again; as I was sure I was no longer infectious with a cold).
Then I went back, had some more food and then Fr. Lawrence came over and sat by me. That was a really wonderful thing. I felt more included than I had in a long time; my friends who are in regular contact with me know that I talk a lot (maybe too much? forgive me...) about being in 4 churches (as a member) in just over 2 years (I am going on year three now, unbelievable). It is natural (though upsetting at times) to lose contact with those one knew before, especially regarding one's first (Orthodox) church. So it was very wonderful to tell Fr. Lawrence about this, especially how hard my year in London doing the bulk of my MLIS degree and not having any one in my Church who was near my age. I think one of the best parts of it was how I felt listened to (I always did want attention, just ask my family!) and also how I still felt like Fr. Lawrence treated me like he always did--as a (spiritual) daughter, even though I left almost 2 years ago. He told me in an email after I left that now he was more like an Orthodox uncle, as I needed to take root where I was, and have the priest (at my 2nd church) be my new spiritual father. I, of course, protested...and he conceded that he could always have the title as my first spiritual father. So to see him again was a great gift.
On a similar topic, but on a different level, I am still waiting for my heart to learn more of God as my FATHER and to live present to His love.
I feel that as an Orthodox Christian I share in a great hope...