Friday, May 09, 2014

Thoughts about how things can be

 I've been thinking about
and what it is that I am looking for in a book...
I think I am really craving Kathleen Norris' book
as she writes about struggles; 
Jennifer did too but in a different way.
I guess more on the OK, we are Christians
but how do we do this?
Not just following the general moral code,
i.e. the ten commandments or more over
Christ's commandment to love God and others
as oneself,
but how does on get on with things?
I think a lot of these thoughts are
going round and round in my mind right now
because we are preparing to move;
more than one person has said it will be a new
start for us; not that we had a bad first start,
but that this will be new.
And the move really will be.
But meanwhile,
I've been reflecting on how things have been since I left 
Ottawa less than 2 years ago.
A place that I loved so deeply that I never ever 
wanted to leave it,
and only did when I married Mr. Husband.
So here I am.
I've been loving the book Adian's song,
and Fr. Adian talks about lots of the church feasts
and I find every time I think of a feast,
I still think of it in Ottawa.
My understanding, my formation, my point of reference
for the feasts are not just how they were done
in my church in Ottawa but just
what my understanding and experience of the different
seasons and Feasts are.
I can't, for instance, think of the late summer feasts of
without thinking of the summer light of my church.
I can't think of Pascha without hearing how
the hymns are sung there.
I can't think of Christmas without the Holy Supper
and later Great Compline.
I am really making great strides on 
adjusting to my new world here.
And I choose to come here.
When Mr. Husband and I realized,
when were still dating, 
that Ottawa was simply not an option for us
because of his work, we 
were considering other places before I realized
it was best for me to come here to New Jersey
and begin a new life with him here,
with us still going to his long-time church
(our far-away church), and sort things out here and
grow here, start a new life together here...
And slowly I am.
But wow, it has been a huge change.
A sea-change as some would say; a revolution of one's life,
my good Romanian friend A. said marriage is;
everything is different.
What does being married mean?  

Well, our wedding crowns are above our bed.
We have this quilt on the bed,
that the underside is light blue... Mr. Husband
likes that side better and teases me saying
that I put the wrong side up, as the other
side, the blue one, is for the Mother of God... :)

One thing I was not able to expect was
how much my routines would alter.
Some is obvious; like sharing space, having time together
to talk and plan; but other ways were not so easy to
foresee... one of them was that our evening prayers
are done first as Mr. Husband always did it and then
with things I did and some new for both of us.
Mr. Husband and I pray very differently; he's more
methodical, disciplined and routine oriented;
I am more spontaneous, free-spirited and liking to 
change things up.
It was all so different that to be honest,
I can't remember how I even used to pray at night
when I was living in Ottawa.
It's been a real change, and I often have struggled with
my many weaknesses in prayer and how 
hard everything seems.
In someways, it is just a further articulation in my life
of spiritual poverty, from what I can gather.
Some of it is because the devil just wants to discourage me
in and from prayer, also from what I can gather.
But it's also just been that I don't pray alone,
I pray at night as a couple, with Mr. Husband.
And that a lot of things have changed
and it takes a very long time to reestablish routines,
even for things like prayer at other times of day.
I've had to be so patient with it all
has been quite helpful;
his next advice of
is something I am continually fail at and have to work on,
some days good, some days not so much.
I am gaining in excitement for our new home together.
Tonight I found myself thinking about
 how I want my office space to be;
we share office space and need to make it more 
organized, efficient and may I add, beautiful.
It's going to take some time.
And boy, this summer is filling up already with plans and
potential plans... 
I find it a real challenge these days,
with the computer, a million things to do and plans,
to spend enough time seeking God out and
seeking to stay in His Presence.
And that's why in all of this, I am really
wanting a new Kathleen Norris book!
Something that discusses the struggle of just
being a Christian, as in growing in prayer,
growing in love, learning to really want God's will;
it's all the basics really but I find 
that I, who was always the religious one of the family,
who married a man whose been to 5 times the number of
monasteries that I, I how always was at church in Ottawa, 
who am about as Ortho-geeky as they come,
am really still at square one,
still waiting to begin what I wish I had
and see in others.
Perhaps it is this story that is why
I so want another book by K. Norris...
Norris' relating, I think in The Cloister Walk,
 a Saints story (I can't remember now which one) 
where the Saint was a lazy distracted monastic
 but who sorrowed over it
and one day she is visited I think by Christ who
tells her that soon her salvation will come
and it truly did and she was transformed.
I am that lazy distracted married woman who struggles with
FB, who forgets her resolve to work on her spiritual life
and finds herself reading blogs...
But I've also read and seen this to be true:
I cannot try to be super prayer-woman like today or tomorrow.
It does not work that way and
I have read that to force oneself to something one is not
ready for is a sure fail way to never get there.
Discipline for sure is needed
but discernment is needed to understand what is discipline
and what is just plain crazy and unrealistic when
looking at the state of one's inner life.
As a dear friend has always said to me,
bit by bit, little by little... 


Christie said...

"Pray as you can" is excellent advice! I too am at square one, and even when I make ground toward the "inner castle" of St. Theresa of Avila, I am just as soon cast back out into the wild gardens. I think we only truly lose if we cease to try. The struggle to pray may very well be a prayer in God's eyes. I'm terrible at keeping a routine, but I like to think that if I am mindful, a little thing like going for a walk or washing the dishes can be offered up as a prayer to the most High.

I have to get my hands on a Kathleen Norris book, everyone recommends her so highly! What I've read so far I've loved.

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

It is better just to pray the Lord's Prayer every morning, night and mealtime, and say the Jesus prayer at intervals, than to have an extensive Rule which you cannot keep every day. Once that small Rule is deeply embedded and an integral part of life, then other things can be added slowly....

Lisa said...

You do need to pray alone! Perhaps just not in the same way as before you were married. Remember the reason for prayer, for devotions, for church, for Lent, for all of it - to stay close to God; to become like Christ, so you (we) can be Christ in the world (because He couldn't be in this world forever, so we need to continue this for Him). So, prayer is part of your duty.

You speak of new beginnings, Elizabeth - every day is a new beginning - every MOMENT! If you can look at it that way, these big things might not loom so large in your mind.

Now, I will say one more thing: I'm not any better than you :) and I'm a know-it-all. :D God bless you! xoxo

elizabeth said...

Hi Lisa: I do pray alone also! It's just I am so aware of the poverty of it; the lack of focus; I have seen and known true prayer and I am so far from it... but I do not give up hope! Thanks so much for your comment. It is truly most appreciated! Thank you!

Mimi said...

I agree, "Pray as you can" is wonderful.
Have you read Madeline L'Engle's nonfiction, especially "The Irrational Season" ? It reminds me a lot of Norris