Friday, February 20, 2009

I think I needed the Quiet

My normal Fridays are usually a challenge in the sense that it is a day off and I can go the whole day and night without interacting with other people in person. This can be hard.

Today though I feel a little more rested. I went to my hairdressing establishment; bought groceries, talked to various store workers. (I tend to talk to everyone; the strange thing is that in certain circumstances I am quite shy; it varies; I like most people are complex).

I bought some picture frames; some for on-paper-not-on-wood icons. I replaced the picture frame of the picture of my spiritual mother, who passed away over ten years ago. In time I hope to find a really nice special frame for this picture; but at least now the picture is in a better frame. The glass broke in the old frame a few years ago.

I never was able to do the panihida for my spiritual mother. Looking at my old blog post I am not surprised - moving, flying to Halifax, and new job was a lot to handle. I can tell you first hand that grief is hard, unpredictable and for me takes years. It is odd too - I know I am quite sad about losing my spiritual mother - yet she is the one I grieved the most when she died. Things like finally replacing the picture frame of the picture I take with me everywhere, are hard. The frame seemed part of the picture. Of course it has been in the frame for at least 12 years, so this is understandable.

Becoming Orthodox has really helped me start grieving as a Christian. My spiritual father has affirmed that death is not natural. We are wounded by being in time. When we lose those we love, they are no longer in time and we are separated. This is painful for us, even though we have the hope of God's mercy and of Pasca.

Tomorrow I will, Lord Willing, go to what is sometimes refereed to as a general panihida. During Lent there are various Soul Saturdays where a panihida for all the departed is served. We have little panihida booklets at my church and mine is there waiting.

I also have an Akathist to Jesus Christ For a Loved One who has Fallen Asleep that I purchased at the monastery when I was there last. I need to slowly work through this Akathist.

One book I read the year after my spiritual mother died was A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss. I got this book from my University Library. I am planning on getting my own copy of this book. It really impacted me when I read it ten years ago and I can tell I need to read it again. I have been thinking about this book on and off for weeks now.

I have also been reading, in true librarian style, the book catalogue of 8th day books. I read this for fun. One can learn a lot from reading about books. 8th day books has a very well organized catalogue and can point out a lot of good books for spiritual reading. Of course it is important to remember what my spiritual father has also told me - if he read all the Orthodox books that are published, he would no longer have a spiritual life.

Thank God Lent is coming. God is so good to us.


Philippa said...

Everyone walks the journey through grief differently and time does heal all wounds. Note I did not say, it doesn't leave a scar. The scar is always present and there are days when we metaphorically run our finger over it and remember...remember the person, feel the love, feel the loss. It is a good thing. We do not grieve that which we do not love.

Your love for your spiritual mother is like a prayer which you say everyday as you miss her. God hears. And He comforts.


E Helena E said...

Thinking of all our departed loved ones today and of the panihida. Memory Eternal!
This is a helpful post on loss and grieving and living as an Orthodox Christian. Thank you.

TeresaAngelina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TeresaAngelina said...

Left a comment and then realized how small my words were. All I can say though, Little Rose, is that God's love is greater than any death, any grief. And His is with you.

elizabeth said...

dear ones,

first T-A. Thankfully I read your first comment before you took it down. your words were not small.

i understand at the same time the tension of words and grief. Grief can be so overwhelming that no words seem to come near it. I agree with the statement of Job's friends doing 1 thing right - the first 7 days they sat with him in silence.

At the same time, I can tell you you touched on many things I wrote on and I appreciate it all very much. To know that others also went through life before Orthodoxy being told that death was 'natural' is a great comfort.
Thank you so much for both of your comments.

P-thank you for your love. My sense is that I have a lot of grieving still to do on many levels wtih many things in my life. I can relate to the concept of one's love being a prayer. I can also tell you that I began becoming Orthodox when she died even though I did not know it then. Thank God for the church.

E-H - I can only begin to describe what I have been given in the church. And so often my focus is not as strong as it should be and I can be blind to the glory that surrounds us. It is a great comfort to be in the Orthodox church where we know there is only One church and that we are not seperated from those we love in Church.

May God indeed comfort our hearts and remember those we love who have fallen asleep in His Kingdom.