Tuesday, March 24, 2015

{reflections} What lies before us

I've been listening to 
Ancient Faith Radio for years now.
I still remember when it was fairly new
and I would listen to it from my small blue studio apartment in 
Ottawa Ontario... 
Blogging was pretty new and my church
in BC, that at point I had left only a year before,
had a blog with various members blogging
and we would interact that way,
it was a real blessing as I 
had just been in London Ontario 
for one year that while very good was
hard in terms of being in a culture I was not familiar
and was dealing with various levels of loneliness.
I was really not sure, back then in London Ontario, where I fit in 
Orthodoxy; everything was still very new,
I was getting the now defunct magazine
The Handmaiden, 
was aware of having more head knowledge than heart,
though I would not of known how to articulate that then.
The stories of the Saints, esp. the martyrs 
were still very new to me and at times very hard to read;
how and why did people kill Christians like that!?
I had been a Christian all my life,
but no one had ever introduced me to the stories
of the early martyrs....
I re-read my two Kathleen Norris books a lot
during that time,
Cloister Walk and Amazing Grace: a Vocabulary of Faith.
These books gave me a lot of solace while I was in London Ontario...
I was attending a church
that was in the middle of a lot of growth 
and clergy changes; I felt lost and alone a lot of the time.
I had (and have!) a wonderful godmother
but I was in a new city, hours from her and everyone I knew
both in BC and Michigan.
I don't think I ever wrote much here
about that time in my life,
but at the time I was incredibly exhausted and confused.
I went to Ottawa not knowing what was what.
Well, my priest in Ottawa basically loved me back to health
as it were. 
I was able to sort myself out, 
made new friends, started this blog 
and worked on creating a life for myself in Ottawa.
Fast forward a few years and I was working in Ottawa
at a job that was not working on many levels.
I listened to Ancient Faith Radio a lot that year.
The summer before that job started,
I had broken my foot and was quite unwell
from an additional infection in the foot that happened 
and the antibiotics for that infection were
wreaking havoc on my system.
Whew, what a time!
But it was during that summer that I heard Fr. Thomas Hopko speak.
Wow, he was a powerful speaker.
Full of energy, life and enthusiasm. 
He had a lot of ideas on how he would do things
different and a lot of perspective on years of living
and service in the church.
I still remember him talking to my Ottawa priest
who had been his student; those years
when Fr. Thomas taught at St. Vlads seemed like the 
golden years to me and perhaps to others
who heard about them secondhand
and I do wonder what we have now before us.
55 maxims, is the day he passed away.
Well, now it is for a quick moment it is the present,
March 24, 2015 and Fr. Thomas Hopko was buried
which is the monastery that the one I go to in Michigan,
is from.  I have not yet had the privilege of being at
Holy Transfiguration Monastery but do hope to one day.
The candle desk man at our local NJ church is in his 80s 
and over the weekend, when we were talking
about Fr. Thomas Hopko's death,
he said that many years before he would go to 
Lenten Lectures where both Fr. Thomas Hopko and
Fr. Alexander Schmemann would give lectures.
He called them both stalwarts of the church...
It seems that slowly an era of people are passing by us.
I find this hard - I feel like the generation that I am either
in or close to is nothing like those who are leaving us;
who will show us the way and have such courage?
We are in such a new place as a culture and 
need wisdom like never before...
Well.  I was talking to my sister-friend this weekend
about an article I read about Fr. John (Krestiankin) who is featured in  
the beginning of the much-loved book Everyday Saints 
and I told her about reading this quotation:
“I went to the elder when I had to decide some important life’s questions. Just like on a road, I had reached a fork and didn’t know which way to go. And the elder showed me the way. Once I asked him, ‘What will we do when we are left without you? To whom should we turn?’ Fr. John replied, “Have faith in God’s Providence.” Yes, this is now our path. The Lord took our spiritual Moses to Heaven, and now we have to walk by ourselves.  (found here
I am thankful for the podcasts we can listen to 
on Ancient Faith Radio and that we have 
recordings to turn back to.
And more than this,
we have a God who is full of mercy
and who promises to never leave us...  


steph said...

what a poignant question....where do we turn when the current leaders are no longer there to lead us....in religion, most certainly, but in other areas of life. I think one of the reasons I love the blog world so much is that I see so much positive and refreshing things going on among younger people....the kinds of things that don't make the papers or newscasts. There is a great generation coming along...and within it, there are I'm sure some leaders who will emerge. I'm optimistic!!!

Sara Lorayne said...

Than you for sharing so honestly a bit about these years of your life and pondering the questions that we tend to ask. I relate so well to your comment about the saints in the beginning of the post. No one ever introduced me to them before.

I am sending you an email also.