Saturday, March 09, 2013

Remembering and Praising God

Beloved friends in Ottawa
put my Panakhyda book
for prayer.
I have been thinking of the couple
who I wrote about earlier this week,
the grandparents of my Ottawa parish.
I looked through a few years of pictures
on my computer this morning
while Mr. Husband worked on stuff
in the office...
I am thinking a lot of Pascha
and how miraculous and glorious it is.
And of the older couple.
How a few years ago I and some others
went to their house
during the day
to get pussy-willows for Palm Sunday.
The pussy-willows grew in abundance near their home.
We tromped through water and mud,
with ladders and buckets.
Rode on back of their pickup truck.
It was a lovely beautiful sunny day.
I got the cutest tall red rain boots at
what was then a Zellers store
downtown before heading out.
This was before I knew of Mr. Husband's
existence but I had
talked already with the woman
who we see as a Grandmother to the Parish
about the wedding ceremony and
when I came over
she got her wedding book out first thing,
as she knew I would want to see it.
I saw on their couch looking at
the black and white photos...
There house,
a smallish brick house,
was so lovely.
sunshine filled;
I remember the curtains,
the beautiful and simple icons,
how unified the house was.
A formal dining room;
the living room;
the kitchen table
where she had made sandwiches for us to eat
and set it out nice for us.
Place mats.
Beautiful, simple, intimate.
We all talked and ate.
I had a tour of the house,
saw all the clocks
that the man of the house,
who I called the Grandfather of the parish,
the Patriarch,
was and had restored.
So many clocks, beautiful ones!
It's funny how one realizes some things
later on;
I remember telling my spiritual father that
I had been to their house;
he of course being the priest knows
their house well;
this couple loves our church and cared for it for
decades...and for our cemetery too.
Going there was like a solidification of
many things.
It's like one of those
before and after moments
where everything after is coloured
by the time in-between the
before and after.
Before that day and after that day.
I had by that point already told the
Matriarch-Grandmother that
when I was older I wanted to be just like her.
She taught me how to fold the
altar clothes.
I was always at the Panakhydas
during Lent.
I still remember going to my first one;
I was the first anglophone to come
to them,
as it was a Ukrainian parish originally
and the Panakhydas were still done in
full Slavonic
unlike our liturgies which English predominated.
My spiritual father asked if I would
feel alienated by all the Slavonic.
I assured him this would not be the case
and so Slavonic became in a lot of ways
my first language for grief.
All grief and sadness will one day
be swallowed up by
Christ's Pascha.
When I was looking over the photos and found
the one of last year's Pascha
when I and Mr. Husband got engaged

And when I look at this picture
of such a happy day,
what I think of when I look at it
is the older couple's house
in Ottawa
as if somehow they are linked.
And yet they are linked.
They through their many years of service
to the church are giving
the church to us.
To me.
The unity I saw in their house,
the memory of a beautiful simple sunlit
Ukrainian-Canadian home
is in me.

They met many years ago

by this little chapel
that I took pictures of last year
at cemetery day.
They have been married many years now.
Their only son has the same name
as my Mr. Husband's name.
They were there for liturgy, my wedding and reception.
After the priests,
they were the first to greet us as newly married.
The Patriarch of the Parish really
felt to me like one of the Patriarchs
as he congratulated me and told me
put your trust always in the Lord.
I really felt like I was being given the fatherly blessing
on my wedding day.

I married my beloved
Mr. Husband
and moved from
the city that is the jewel of my heart.
Today is Mr. Husband and I's
6 month wedding anniversary.
We are slowly making a
Dutch-Orthodox home
with a lot of lovely Ukrainian
and also some Romanian, Russian, Greek
beautiful things...
I hope to make a home that has the same
unity that I saw and experienced
in the older couple's home.
And the same love of others...
It was clear that when their son was young
their home was a gathering place of children.
When I saw this couple on
Theophany Eve
last January in Ottawa
it was with great joy
but also with a realization of how
the Grandfather of our parish is continuing to suffer.
He looked like a small thin bird.
But yet so loving.
And so I was not there today
for the first Panakhyda of Lent.
Last night I admit to tears
I missed everyone so much.
But I am married now.
I am so glad to have Mr. Husband.
I am so excited to have our first Lent and Pascha
DV together as husband and wife.
I am excited to make our home a little haven,
a little Orthodox home...

I got my icon of the Protection of the Mother of God
at the Greek Monastery
about 2 years ago...
the picture above is of Lent last year.
Soon the Icon I have of
St. Ephraim the Syrian and of Christ
that I made a few years ago;
and also a smaller one of
the Ladder
will be out for Lent.

It is so close now:
Great Lent.
I am growing in anticipation;
even though Lent is often very hard
yet I get excited for it every year.
We know the end of the story:
Christ's Pascha...
But to get to the Resurrection,
we must go by the way of the Cross.
We must seek to watch and pray.
May the Lord help and bless us
and protect us.


elizabeth said...


E Helena E said...
What a beautiful tribute to this dear couple!

2:21 PM, MARCH 09, 2013

Matushka Anna said...

I agree, beautiful!

And happy 6 months...and many, many blessed more!

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

My fervent prayers for you and Mr Husband as you prepare to share your first Great Lent together!