Saturday, March 25, 2017

Here, now, again

here we go again...
I managed to get the living areas and kitchen clean,
the 'Island' counter with flowers and table runner
instead of a mass of clutter.
We went to Festal Matins for (new calendar) Annunciation
for our evening prayers.
It's really hard being constantly between 2 calendars.
I would of loved to go to liturgy tomorrow,
but we are going to our far-away church tomorrow night,
for Patrick's 40th day service and vigil
and can't do both; so God willing we will have liturgy
for Annunciation at our far-away church,
13 days from now.
I started Mat. Constantina's new book;
it's a fairly easy read, lots to think about.
The parts about her missing Greece are so familiar to me;
I am really missing Ottawa a lot lately;
worse than it's been in months.
I don't know what to do with it.
I think it is in part because it has been so hard these past few months
and that it's been a hard year in a lot of ways.
It's normal for me to wish to go on vacation for a bit when things are 
hard; my roommate and I, back in my undergrad days,
used to joke about going on vacation to Europe when those
stressful midterms and papers rolled around.
So I guess i am going to take a deep breath and remind myself of the things
I have learned and been told about my marriage and moving to the States from
Canada... something to hold on to, myself, as I try to ride this wave out.
First, when I was talking to an Abbess that knows me and I trust for advice,
about how I was leaving everything I knew to marry my Husband,
she simply said, 
is that not the Gospel?
To leave all to follow Christ?
Second, my Husband's spiritual father, when he gave my not-yet-Husband
the blessing to marry me, told me that I was not losing my 
spiritual family in Ottawa, I was merely enlarging my 
family, adding new members, it was getting bigger, not smaller.
I was not losing them but gaining others.
Third, my Husband's spiritual father is right.
I would of never gotten to know and love Patrick like I have.
I know many new people and have many reason to be grateful.
Fourth, Elizabeth Elliot's book was one of the first things
I read in my early days of my marriage
and her book 
helped me see that where I was now,
as bewildering as it was at times, was where God wanted me.
That I could trust that where I was is indeed the will of God for me,
part of His plans for my life.
There are things I am meant to do here.
There were people waiting for me here, ones I did 
not know of who, at least for a time, had need of me in very
concrete ways. 
I had to leave my spiritual father of 7 years and find a new one,
as he instructed me to do... and I have... it's not the same, no, but
here's something I am still thinking of that my new spiritual father 
told me the first year that I was married,
when I told him I was missing Ottawa,
by which I meant the church esp.
He reminded me of St Mary of Egypt and how for years she
struggled with temptations about her former life and wishing to go back.
The music, the fish she ate, the list went on.
There was a reason that my first spiritual father gave me the blessing
to know my Husband (at all, as in email him) if I was willing to leave 
Ottawa; he knew how much I loved it there,
how much I was willing to sacrifice to stay.
I have even learned that it is really a kind of mental torture to 
continue to wish for that which one cannot have.
Now what I can and can't have, in terms of one day living in 
Canada again, I really don't know.
That's the hardest part of it.
Not knowing the will of God for one's future,
down the road a ways.
It took me well over a year to even admit
to my Husband that I had lost something in leaving 
Ottawa, while I gained something deeply wonderful in 
return, my Husband, my marriage, my new home and life here.
I've struggled with my neighbourhood this past year,
it's been just over a year since we heard the gun shots of a man
murdering a woman.  Lord have mercy.
There's been various things here that I have never had to face up close;
I lived in downtown Ottawa, I knew what building and area there was 
especially rough. But I never lived in it or really near it.
It's culturally different here.
I went from a church that was very multi-cultural, with a priest who
speaks 4 languages fluently, a deacon with two, with many languages
in liturgy; the Lord's prayer often being said in 4 or 5 languages every liturgy;
while I really only, sadly, know one language, I loved being surrounded by
them... I lived in the capital of Canada where I heard many 
languages daily; sometimes I hear someone speaking French here
and it just makes my heart sing.
It took me about a year to adapt to the music of my new far-away church;
now I know it well and I truly love it;
something I still miss so much, and I think will until my dying day,
is how my Ottawa parish knelt (other than the Paschal times) for the 
Consecration of the Holy Gifts.  
The silence.
The sense of the Holy.
The sense of repentance happening.
Lord have mercy, I could weep just thinking of it.
I remember at my far-away church and once glancing at Patrick,
sitting in his chair, and realizing how deeply he was concentrating 
and in prayer; how hard it is for me to pray now; 
I never prayed well but I still feel like I am missing the
"cues" that I used to have, that my heart knew
and responded to.
But I can say that God has still been merciful to me.
That He has shown many times that He is still with me as 
I try to make my life here.
It is said that a new grief will often open up
old griefs and that things mingle in this way,
grief hitting grief,
grief opening another door of grief,
as it were.
So, I will keep doing what I am to do here.
Continue to struggle to build a life here;
enjoy what I have, like NYC and Trader Joes nearby,
and my two churches, many new friends,
my life with my beloved husband,
and try to keep carving out the life God wants me to have here.
These songs are what I listened to a lot when I was newly married
and still hold a lot for me today:

And this song, I can't say enough about it.

In the end, as she sings,
it is Christ who I need, in front,
behind, inside me, behind, everywhere.
CHRIST is the location I need to be rooted in,
not Canada, not Ottawa, CHRIST, and being in Christ 
in His Church... 


Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

Dear One, sending many hugs winging across the ocean to you. These feelings are hard enough to bear at the best of times, but are especially hard in Lent.
May God give us all grace and strength and perseverance to walk in the Way He has appointed for us.

elizabeth said...

Thanks so much Elizabeth! Yes!! May God grant us this!!! thank you for your words and love!!! Greatly appreciated!

Helensmamma said...

I Elizabeth! I'm sorry I have not been around to comment,I'm in the middle of bathroom renovations and the weather is lovely in the U.K. -lots to do in my garden.
I feel your pain about churches,the church I was received into is just not practical to travel to;so I persevere locally.

Be of good heart,

Ann Marie

Rachel said...

I'm moving soon and, aside from the stress of moving, I'm worried about being out of my comfort zone. I've also had trouble with prayer lately, it's good to read your thoughts about it. I've tried to redidicate myself during this Lent, but I know I could be doing better to listen. Your pictures are lovely, as alway. I'm jealous of the large, beautiful window.

Emmie said...

The breastplate prayer of Saint Patrick struck me anew this year. So amazing to hear it in such an exquisite song. I love and appreciate the way you chronicle your journey and how it has affected you. Lots of wisdom there.

Lilly's Mom said...

Hello dear Elizabeth, your post today touched my heart as I have struggled with many of the same feelings since moving to California seven years ago. I'm much older than you but it has been a struggle find my place. Right now I'm praying at a small mission church that is true blessing. Don't give up and continue on your path as I truly believe the Lord is guiding us according his will. I miss my home state dearly but my life is here now. My prayers are with you dear friend, Pat

Paula said...

I wish I had the right words to give you. I know how it feels. I've been here 14 years and still don't feel a part of anything. Even at Ella's skating I'm still considered an 'outsider' because I'm from'away'. I so miss my Toronto church (even though we didn't get there every week). My new far-away church is wonderful, but it's not the same. It's hard to replace the church your grandparents were a large apart of, where your parents were married and where you yourself was baptized. Sending you lots of love.

Tracy said...

Dear Elizabeth... ((BIG HUGS)) Busy days on this end too, so I'm slow to visit. My heart goes out to you in such a big way. For I know well what you are going through. While we go into being transplanted with love, it is still very hard. Being far from where we come from, far from family, friends, special places--its hard. It is hard to find one's self a new place, and discern what God will have one do once there. As you know last year I was struggling with a lot of similar things that you are trying to handle too. God in His mercy kept walking with me all the way, and especially when I stumbled! Keeping my daily prayer alive and well helped so much, and still does. Instead of focusing so much on how I feel, or where I think I should be, etc. I find myself trying to relax more with being transplanted where I am and discovering the love I wasn't open enough to seeing before. Letting His love guide me more, rather than my thoughts and emotions. It's not easy! Some days can still be really challenging. And some element of homesickness may never completely "go away". But as long as I serve God, my husband, family and others as best I can, then I am home, really. And we are home when we share our hearts... Like now, here! Thinking of you, and praying for you... God Bless you!! :)))

elizabeth said...

Hi Ann Marie, thanks so much! Lots to do for sure now for you!

Rachel, thanks so much for your kind words. I know, this window is just lovely. If I had a perfect house, it would have this window + a kitchen that is bright with a window over the kitchen sink! :) ... it's a good struggle you are in terms of prayer and seeking to be dedicated to God... prayer is often not easy, that's for sure and I think part of what is needed is to just keep at it... I hope that your move will be OK: I know it can be so very stressful!!!

Thanks Pat!!!

Thanks Paula, I have emailed you...

Thanks Tracy, yes, I can see that very much. thanks so much.... HUGS back and thanks again for the prayers!!!

Gloriade said...

Dear Elizabeth, my heart was touched by the feelings you shared today. I remember well the sadness of leaving family and friends and moving to The Northwest. I remember the struggles of making a home and finding a new church. My husband and I have lived here for 39 years now and I will say that while the building of a life here was often emotionally difficult for an introvert like me, looking back I can see God's hand in all of it. I have learned to love the life God has given me here. This is now my home and there has been much joy over the years. I pray that as Easter appraches and we leave Lent behind and begin the celebration of new life in Christ that your heart will be lifted. Blessings to you.