Thursday, May 25, 2006

reflections on the place (time) i am in...

I am in the central library of my little city right now; I am on the third floor, and have window seat as it were for the tops of buildings; I can see the spires of an old church in the distance. It is quiet here; I am aware also of the loneliness of my surroundings; not the books, or the people treading quiet on carpet, but that I am in library school and often feel like I do not quite fit. For instance, it is surprisingly unusual for library students to go to public libraries as a public place; for me I go usually every Saturday. I am Orthodox and there is only one person at my church near my age in my little London church; this person I know only by acquaintance; he is often gone because of his work and though we share the same church space, I feel that we are worlds apart. I find the realization of my loneliness, no matter how temporary, to be hard. It is where the mire of self-pity tempts me the most—that I am different and somehow alone.

When I was in Ottawa I was sometimes aware of loneliness there—that I was new in town, that people at the church I love do not know me well (save a few exceptions) but I was usually happy at church, esp. when I would be feeding people, cleaning up or spending time with specific people. I miss my spiritual father there so much – I could feel better just sitting next to him or nearby. I had never experience this sort of thing before—a loving father who can also guide me in spiritual things. Not that I did not have wonderful priests before—not at all—but with all my moving around and the past uncertainty in my life, I never made the connection like I have with the priest at my church there. I feel so lucky, so blessed (an old version of the Psalms in the BCP uses the word ‘luck’ so I for one do not mind using this word) to have had the many experiences at my church. I long to return, more and more.

If I fear anything right now, one of the top fears is that I will not be able to return; that I will have to continue to live in exile. And I think in some ways I have been living in exile for a very long time, so this desire is very present within me. Yet I have hope—yes, hope in God; also hope in things I have presently: doing the flowers for my little church here, my friends, the Akatist I am praying slowly through one page per night, in the fact that God has provided for me every step of the way; that I have been taught by my spiritual father that God takes our desires into account, that I can sincerely and humbly present my request, my desire to live in Ottawa, to Him; that God listens; cares; saves.

What greater hope is there than this! How blessed I am…



I am in my program’s smallish library now; late last night, as I was sitting in my old gold chair, journaling, with Cleo the Cat near by, I realized that one of the reasons I had been more aware of loneliness is because my week has been so intense—I have been gone daily between 10 and 13 plus hours from home, working on school work—I find that I feel really isolated when I work so much. Like I am suddenly disconnected from my family, friends, sense of place; as if calling my parents (I do this quite often) was like talking to them after days and days of being away. I have a paper to finish this morning (I am exhausted and do not want to even look at it) and then after a 3 hour class this afternoon, and a meeting after that, I have to start my next paper – it is due Monday (today being Thursday) and I refuse to work on it on Sunday. This means more intense work this weekend.

Thank God for His mercy; that God will sustain me through this. Pray for me if you would…

2 comments:

tyson said...

Elizabeth,

An encouragement regarding your spiritual father. After years of searching for a spiritual guide I found one in Father Charlie, a Roman Catholic priest in the small village of St. Agatha near where my parents live.

Thus, when we sat down for the last time before my family moved here to Bolivia I was quite distraught. Not because God was not in Bolivia, but because despite this such spiritual relationships are hard to find and I feared the "quiet" time here may well go on for many years - especially with the language gaps.

However, now here over a year, Padre Walter, the priest at the Anglican church my family attends has started to take on this role to an extent. It feels like an extention of what I had in Canada. God provides people who to us are like angels when we need them. We need only patiently ask our true Spiritual Father in heaven, who has compassion on us, and in God's time we will receive that which He knows we need.

Peace in Christ,

Tyson

elizabeth said...

Tyson,

thank you so much for writing here. i am definitely asking our Heavenly Father about this -- for me i am also asking that i can return, job in hand, to Ottawa where i was and where my spiritual father is....

i do hear what you are saying and am striving to trust God on this (amongst other things)...

thanks so much for sharing your story.

you are always welcome here.

blessings of His peace,

Elizabeth