Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Lent Day 37

I woke up to sunshine.
Mr. Husband was home, getting ready for the day.
He is working in the morning here, taking a cab later in the morning
so he is not hit with huge price surges and 
I took pictures of Cleo while she was quickly on the chair, standing up.
I think she wanted her first treat of the day, so she cooperated ;)
Men are working outside on our street again.
I put on AFR on my phone as I was hearing one of them
talking loudly and I could tell it was not words I wanted to hear.
Read an article by Scott Cairns on Robert Lax

"I know all about the despair of overcoming chronic temptations. It is not serious, provided self-offended petulance, annoyance at breaking records, impatience, etc. doesn’t get the upper hand. No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. 

We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, and the clean linen clothes are in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to lose one’s temper and give up. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present to us: it is the very sign of his presence."

I know, from my reading, that there are Saints who practice great
askesis. fasting deeply and other often surprising acts of piety,
Saints on Pillars, Saints with hairshirts, Saints who do acts that help them
radically focus on God.....
I believe that Saints are the reason the earth is still spinning slowly everyday
instead of being destroyed.
I believe that there are Saints who have achieved dispassion - that is 
the absence of sin/sinful passions.
Who are impassable.   Who are no longer able to be tempted.
Who God gave the grace of this impassivity to. 

I really believe that achieving this in this world is possible, at least
for those who God gives it to.
I have seen hints and glimmers of it.
When I talk to a monastic who tells me that she used to struggle with
anxiety but no longer does or an older Christian
who says she or he used to worry but now does not.

I also know that I myself do not have this. 
If one is attentive even a little to their actions, words and thoughts
they will see that they do not either....  What Lewis writes,
of how dirty we are, how stained... with tattered clothing....

Sometimes I wonder, when reading such things,
if there are two types of people in situ, in the current moment,
of those who are struggling towards God,
however feeble the struggle - those who are falling constantly 
and those who are above it, impassible few.
Perhaps there are those who are not yet struggling towards God also,
which is quite concerning in the light of our spiraling world that
seems intent on self-destruction and esp. on destruction of personal cultural heritage
or on destroying those of others's past.

Yet I quickly realize that the Saints felt the deepest repentance,
knew themselves to be 'worthless' in light of God and knowing that,
in truth, they can do no good outside of God's strength and work in their lives.


Conversely I wonder about those how considered themselves
of no account; I read that Fr Sophrony had the right sort of 'hatred of self'
and yet I remember the profound words of a monastic in the book
the Scent of Holiness, where she writes of, because of her 
horrific past life experiences, was given the obedience of only being thankful,
of not doing self-condemnation as it could lead her quickly to despair. 
(The idea of self-condemnation, in the best way I can explain it quickly,
is to be aware/discerning/in the right way critical of one's self,
seeing oneself for who they are, not pretending that they have some
greatness/virtue/good that is either not directly from God's direct intervention
or seeing others are much worse than their self). 


I think it is not easy, to discern such things.


I am reading more of Mother Alexandra wrote
and I can see how she was drawn into monasticism at the 
last part of her life.
I can't wait to get more on her life and of her writings.
I LOVED what I read today from the journal form her monastery
that I picture above in this blog post.


In other more day-to-day events...
I am getting my haircut for the first time here in NJ today.
I had thought I would be in Ottawa Jan-Feb but plans with 
one of my good friends there fell through and so I never went.
And I have not gotten my haircut since August.
And I don't know when I am coming again to Ottawa.
So. I am sad that my dear hair stylist V will not be
cutting my hair, but I hope that I can go back to her again...

I feels like a big deal in my small life, 
like I am shoving off the last rope from my boat, 
quietly but with precision, letting the boat go free,
into the unknown waters on a sunny day
that I will still be on, when the sun sets and it gets cold, dark,
on the water... 

I have been missing Ottawa, when I went over the blog for cute
Cleo pictures, I miss the beauty and flowers.
I am going to try to find more of this here.

I have to keep trying....to find things I love here, 
while being in a neighbourhood that is still in need of much change.


Well.  My hair is much shorter now, nicely on the shoulder.
In a way sad, as my long curly locks are gone, but 
they grow back in half a year and for summer, this is best.
And so much lighter.... 
the hair dresser did a good job.
I found myself missing Ottawa while I was there.
I think part of my missing now is that I felt so
connected to my beloved Ottawa.
Like it was *my* city. 
I just loved it there.
I love the people I have met here.
I love the area more where my far away church is.
Where I live now. 
Well. I am still working on it.
My next thought, since I DO need to work on loving it here,
again, this Lent and the last year took off some of the love of
being here, I must admit, with the new violence that has popped up
more over the last year....
anyway, my next thought is to find places near by, and in NYC,
that are beautiful. 

I think if I do this, it will go along way.


Somehow I must gain compassion and love for the people here,
if I do, perhaps I can love it like but differently than Ottawa...


I have some great conversations with cab drivers.
Actually so does Mr. Husband.
Some deeply intellectual drivers, esp. if they are from other countries,
it seems.  I found myself telling Mr Husband that I see then
that these people are around and I wish I could meet some of them 
outside of the taxi. 
I found myself today talking about the Philokalia, that I have not read,
the Art of Prayer, that I have and what the nous is and where 
peace is really going to come from.
Let's say I don't get to talk about this very often in my life here.
It's just how it is.


 I am SO Blessed with Mr. Husband to talk to.
I miss my friends in Ottawa who are now in Bucharest.
I have some great friends in my life in NJ too, who are on the same level,
but we all live in different towns and cities and without a way to really
meet up for dinner...
but yet so MUCH to be thankful for....


I had Thai for an early dinner,
shared rest with Mr Husband for a later dinner.
And now it is late, and I must call this 
Lent day 37, done!


Tracy said...

You have a way of expressing thing so beautifully, and so full from your heart. I'm living aboard these many years now, and it's been very, very hard being far from my family, friends and places I love. Very much I hope to return to my home country. It's not easy to make home out of another place that really isn't one's heart-home in many ways. It is a struggle, and I empathize with that. But I hope very much in time NJ will feel more home for you and your husband! Finding good places to go and enjoy does help! Sometimes I think we are in places for a while to learn things--some inner and spiritual grown can happen, I think. :) Wishing you HAPPY!

Juliana said...

Some great things here today. I really love that C.S. Lewis quote--I may have to use it for a future Talking Tuesday post!!

I understand well the feeling of not being "at home" where you are. After so much moving, time abroad, and then back Stateside, I think that this feeling of restlessness is just part of the adult modern condition in some ways. It doesn't make it any easier, to be sure, but I've found that reminding myself of that fact does make it easier to bear. And finding ordinary beauty in whatever surroundings we find ourselves is always helpful--you are so good at this! I need to do more of that.

Zena said...

I adore your little cat Leo. I can so relate to your longing for your old home town and friends. I miss my multicultural environmentally aware and diverse community in the city. We moved to the country with my first born at 6 weeks. It was so hard and so sad. I was so lonely! When you said "I must Somehow gain compassion and love for the people here. This really resonated with me. I have been here eight years now and have learned to love what this place offers. I've always wanted to knit a chevron blanket btw. Incidentally my dad was a taxi cab driver. He was born in Lebanon. He did not have much schooling but is very clever and can speak several languages. He is very philosophical and a wonderful person to have a good chat to.

Sarah Childs said...

Hi, Elizabeth. Christ is Risen! I am trying to get caught up on my blog reading now that Lent is over. You mentioned wanting to find places near you and in NYC that are beautiful. Have you been to The Cloisters? I have never been but would love to visit sometime, and I suspect you would love it as well. http://www.metmuseum.org/visit/met-cloisters

elizabeth said...

Sarah: Indeed He is Risen! I know of the Cloisters but have yet to visit! I hope to do so! It's on the list... :)