Monday, October 25, 2021

Accepting life, our limtations and others brings greater friendship


I saw this on social media with the caption:
cats have a lot to answer for.
which I found to be super funny.
If it does not strike you at that, they perhaps
I should explain the photo.
This is where a person would stand and the Priest
would stand next to, like this one is.
And the person would confess their sins to Christ
in front of the priest.
So the cat is basically 'going to confession'... so now that you know
that, go back and read the caption and enjoy a good laugh :)

I made my Mom's chili and Jiffy Corn Bread (which is so good!). See HERE for my write up about it on IG. 

OK. So accepting.  I was texting with one of my dearest friends tonight.  And I found myself telling her something I had not been able to articulate before.  And it's this:

Accepting limitations of others and ourselves leads to greater freedom friendships and intimacy in the long run.  One of the biggest lessons in friendships is this though I have a LONG way to go on it.

The idea behind this I will try to explain.  Somewhere in our childhood to growing up years, we can begin to expect people to be a certain way.  Maybe it's that one wants to be Mothered or Fathered in a specific way.  Or one wants one's Husband to excel in things one's Father excelled at.  Or you see a friend's Mother and want your Mother to be like your friend's Mother.  Or, like I wrongly thought in my 20s, I could create a new version of myself by myself but not really in line with actually who I actually am.  (This does not mean one can't change or grow but it is possible to create an image in one's mind of one'self that is false and unattainable).  Another example, you are a Mother and wish you could mother like you see another Mother.  The list goes on.

But what if you were not supposed to be Mother like that other.  Or what if your Mom or your Dad could not Mother or Father you in a way you wish they had.  

[Now the topic of abuse and neglect is not what I mean here but even there, the concept I am trying to get it I think holds, thought it is not the situation I am refering to here; for this situation it could be acceptance of grief and learning how to live differently than one was raised]. 

There can be very real ways one wishes another to be because, at least at the beginning, they wanted that person to be there for them in that way.  

What about accepting where we are TODAY.  To realize that today I am weak. Or accepting that one's Mother is her own self and not what you want her to be.  This is a big one.  I have a very good Mother.  She continues to teach me, humble me gently, love me, be with me on the phone.  I call her every day mostly, even if only for 5 minutes.  She's one of my closest friends and I will never fully understand the great depth of blessing I have in her as my Mother.  When I was young I wished for things my Mother was not.  Now, however, I see what I am trying to articuate:  When I learned to see WHO my Mother is, to respect her and her limitations (everyone has them, they are often linked to what we call boundries) I can grow in friendship with her.  And if I realize, for instance, that she is tired or busy or plain peopled-out, I have learned (over MANY YEARS) to pick up on that, respect it and keep my phone call short.  A day or so later, when sleep is better or she is more refeshed, we have a longer conversation.  And so our friendship grows.  And it is wonderful.

I have not learned this perfectly at all and my Mom still is teaching me, especially when I may be having a more lonely day and forget (AGAIN) to stop talking (I am a talker) and start LISTENING. 

Anyway, I thought this thought that I finally articulated to a dear friend tonight, was worth telling you about and writing down here so I can remember also. 

If I accept another person into my life for who they are today, then I can truly love them.  Yes, we all need to grow. But growth takes time. And I will never be at peace if I don't learn to accept who a person IS instead of who I want them to be. 

Accepting limitations of others and ourselves leads to greater freedom friendships and intimacy in the long run. 

I am sure I still have more to learn about this and what it means but it's where I am in my understanding today and I thought it worth sharing.  I've been mulling over this idea/concept for years.

God bless you. We often have such great burdens in life, but we must remember that God loves us, is still with us and wants us to be saved more than we do.  There is ALWAYS hope and to that we must cling.  God help you, bless you, comfort you, uphold you, console you.... 

Saturday, October 23, 2021

35 Plates

In 2018, when I had my biggest Thanksgiving meal to date, see HERE and HERE, Larissa came over for Thanksgiving.  I gave her a tour of our home, and when she was standing near the bay window (where our Christmas tree is during Christmas), she looked at our blue and white plates and said, "now I know who to give my Royal Copenhagan Christmas plates" and so it was, less than 4 years by 1 month, that we were given Larissa's plates.  1963-1992.  With 3 extra plates + 2 doubles.  My Husband spent the afternoon putting up most of them.  He has about 4 or so to go.  A real labour of love.  I knew Larissa had a lot of them and I used to wonder where I would put them, for I believed her when she said that.  Of course I had no idea that it would be so SOON after.  No, I thought she would have more time.  I think she did too.  But she did understand that she was in her last years.  It's a huge memorial to her, really, all those plates.  It says so much to me.  Her life, which I know so little of, but what I know makes me love her more.  Her dreams, her heartache, her life of hardwork, her intelligence, her home that she put together so carefully.  That was something I really saw when we helped with +Patrick's home.  So carefully decorated but one day, one dies and it is all dismantled.  So it will be with us too.  I know this.  I already think, who will I have to give things to? Time will tell.  

I love that Larissa loved the church so much.  She really knew what it was about, what living as an Orthodox Christian meant (like going to the church feast of one's church and taking the day off work etc).  I remember how happy she was when she talked to the priest of her late Father's parish (he died in 1978) and she heard of many who she had not seen in years, she was so happy.  I realized how much that church and the life she had there meant to her.  How moving closer to NYC and away from this church was a real change in her life.  I don't know if she ever had the same sense of community again.  

I was looking over my blog, remembering how she fell and broke her hip, how I and Photini visited her when she was just out of the OR (HERE) and a day or so later I visited her in the hospital (HERE) or that late she got pnumonia (HERE) and I was so worried.  Later the panedmic started, she was still in rehab and I got her a bunch of books right when lockdown was about to start (HERE) before that I had visited and brought her Russian blini which she just LOVED... I am glad I brought her some joy... and some happy memories of when she would have had this in years past... (HERE)... 

This life, we are just passing through, but who we meet really can bless, impact and change our lives.  I know that she was always so kind, eager to hear about my life, fully understood how hard it was to lose my Cleo Cat (She had gone through that too) and I am so glad I knew her and that in Christ no matter where or what demension, we are together. I really feel that not only was I meant to marry my Husband, that we would be a support to each other for these middle years of our lives, but that I was sent to ones like Larissa as well.  

And somehow she, too, was sent for me.  Her icons, her Psalter and other prayers, are deep deep gifts for me. 

Larissa's Mom, Mat. Tatiana, made the above teacup and saucer! It's crocheted and then starched!  I love it very much.  It joins my collection of treasures from my family and friends... 

Speaking of the word starched... my Grandma fell a week ago, she is fine THANK GOD, no broken bones.  But she landed on the side of her face, her glasses got thrown off and bent (they are fixed and she is getting new ones) and she told me yesterday that the fall 'took the starch our of her' which I realized was the perfect expression for how she felt and that she needed a lot of rest.  A fall like that and at her age (91) is quite a big deal.  Thank God my Mom and Dad were there to help her get up (she said she would not of known what to do) and my Dad made sure she was fully OK before they left her (and they saw her the next day too).  

I think with losing Larissa, I see how my Grandma, her sister and others, we have limited time with them.  I hope for more years with my Grandma, we are quite close.  But still, 91 is 91. 

Larissa was only in her early 80s.  

I feel like the prayers for the departed that she had with her Psalter are so deep, profound, so Christian, as they are all prayers to Christ.  (If you wanted to read it, see HERE).  

(my friend translated info about where it is from, these prayers, he wrote me: 

According to many sources, the akathist for the repose the departed belongs to the pen of Hegumen Ippolit (Jakovlev, +1937) the last father confessor of the Moscow Theological Academy and Seminary….” “before the closure of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra in 1917”)

It is such a profound bunch of prayers. Well, I better get to bed.  It is time.

God bless you, keep you, console you, help you in all things...

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

A Very Special Gift: + Larissa's Psalter

This afternoon we were given some of +Larrisa's cherished belongings and the biggest thing I was given was her Psalter.  
It had her Psalter, the Canon of St Andrew of Crete, 
an older copy of 
the Akathist for the Repose of those who have fallen asleep, 
icons, a bookmark, and many letters, 
most of which we wrote to her. 
 One I had mentioned my Husband's birthday,
 she highlighted that; another I said when 
we were on holiday in July-August and 
she had underlined that.  
She really loved us. She called me before we left on holiday;
 it was after this, when we were still on holiday, 
we found out that July 14 she had gone 
back to the nursing home with fluid in her lungs.  
When she called me I could tell she was getting out of breath.... 

These icons were from me, 
I had mailed them to her at different times. 

She had (above) marked the prayer to pray about the pandemic. 
This copy of the Canon of St Andrew of Crete
was with her Psalter too. 

When I saw the above and how she marked the part about having no health and of life ebbing away, I realized that somehow she knew, recognized, what was happening to her.  

She marked that one (above) too.  I will keep those there.  What a treasure I have in this.  I am greatly comforted. 

I read this Akathist through tonight, trying to learn a little of it by heart, the message of it, the beauty, the depth.  And I realized that Larissa had given me, in this, part of what I need for my writing project.  (Now I am trying to date it, I am guessing 1960s?).  It's really wonderful.  It really captures all of life and all situations of people who need prayers... 

She wrote this small note, that compuction = remorse on a folded up reciept that was from 2011.  
Here the service was printed in 1969 and
 in 2011 she was still reading/studying it.  
That really struck me, seeing her prayerfulness. 
She mainly hid it, I have a feeling that I most defineetely saw this Psalter with her in the nursing home the first time she was there.  I had no idea, of course, what was inside it! Such hidden repentance, beautiful.... 

Psalms to pray for Lent and for vespers marked out... She once told me in church, as we were leaving, that she prayed vespers at home...

This prayer above was in it as well.
Such a beautiful prayer. 

And this handwritten list of various Psalms for
various things, so practical and beautiful.
I loved how she double underlined some, including
DIRE STRAITS which I can just hear her saying... 
I think she suffered a lot, mostly silently without 
others knowing... I know once she had been to the doctor
and she did not want to bother me about it and so
did not tell me, other than that she did not want to bother me
about it.  Later I knew a bit more, as I helped her when I could...
I only wish we could have done more... 
She loved our letters, told my Husband to pleae keep them coming
and thanked him many times for them. 
I can't fully explain the sense of relief I have from being
given this Psalter.  Now she is close by, now she is giving me
some of the greatest consolation and instructions I 
can have.  I am so thankful.
We received some other things as well,
as I am able, I hope to share them here.
She had no family to pass things on to and that I have some 
of these things is very meaninginful.
May God bless and save us!
And one day, may there be people who will pray for us
when we have, like Larissa, departed this life...
She who used to pray for the departed now we pray this for her...
Lord have mercy on us, save us, comfort us
and give us hope in the midst of life's difficulties! 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Tuesday: Wakefullness and Books with lots of TEA

Today I had a better day than I would have expected.  I did lots of PT, they called and asked if I could come even earlier, I was just finishing up with breakfast... it went better than I hoped. 

I had a meeting in the afternoon, I did another tea tasting from a lovely gift of teas a friend gave me from Russia.  You can read the tea tasting in full HERE.  The part about the tea, I will copy for you right now:

This tea is fascinating in how hints of flavours come out as one breathes the wonderful aroma and really focuses on the tea. Hints of: floral sweetness, slightly bitter lemon, the berry notes of hibiscus, the grassy hint of lemongrass and the scent & flavour of thyme. This reminds me a bit of Greek Mountain tea. Put in a really unique case, with a string with wax seal keeping the tea sealed until it is ready for its first use! It's a very impressive and unique craftmanship!

My Husband loves to tease me while I carefully consider the tea I am tasting to write about it.  I breathe the tea in, taste it with measured sips and jot down notes that my Husband, who does not smell things like I do, is a bit incredulous of.  But I know my teas and I know what I wrote above is accurate to my experience of it.  He likes to say things like the tea 'tastes like tea' (his view of the green tea I had earlier this week) or, today's tea 'is brown water' (ha ha, it's not even brown, it was a golden yellow really) or he goes on about tea and that which excrete (if you know about that sort of tea, you get his joke) ... but really, while I tease him right back about his jokes about tea (as you can see from what I am writing here!), I really find him to be funny and his laughter always makes me happy.  

I am reading various books and just finished this one that you can see HERE that was a real cheering up book. 

I managed to do the dishes and my Husband and I listened to a delightful part of the Lord of the Rings during dinner and we ended up putting dishes away and washing up afterwards, which was an unexpected delight.  I thought while in this moment: this is something I always want to remember, this moment of communion over dishes and Tolkien....

Tomorrow is going to be a busy day so I best try to get to bed.  It's late as it is.

God bless you and keep you and save you... 

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Beautiful Song


I forgot about this song and heard it yesterday. 
Sharing it with you now.  
It's beautiful and calm. 

This Week in Pictures: Happenings

It is just a bit after 5 AM.  I have not been sleeping that well.  I think in part because my days have been full, in part because Larissa died, in part because of the perdictiment of the ongoing pandemic and the loneliness that is part of it.  Grief, it is part of life.

I managed to be in NYC two times this week.  That is rare for me.  Next week though I am not sure that I will be able to go in or the week afterwards.  I have a hard time being patient. 

I finally talked to my Grandma again (it had been 2 weeks). I am really touched by how she cares so much for her friends.  She visits them, calls them, sends cards, bakes for them.  She just found out a friend, who she has known since school days (70 years ago, she is 91) and who she is still friends with now, has cancer at 91.  She is so aware of her friend, cares so much for her and her perdiciment (widow, daugther died a few year ago, lives alone) that I forget my Grandma's own perdiciment of being a widow; she focuses on that she has all living children; but beyond this, she just focuses on others and how to bless and encourage them and also on Christ and trusting God for His help through these difficulties.  Her sister, my Great Aunt Phyl, is still slowing down and losing things - hearing, mobility, health.  She's going to be DV 96 in January.  How hard life is but yet how rich one's faith when one trusts in Him.  I realize she is happier because she does not focus on herself... though there is still pain of course in suffering with one's friends, but better too.

I am not able to always blog like I used to, I am sorry about that but I can only do so much.  I am trying to post once/day if possible on my public IG account, you can always look at it (even if you don't have an account I think), just go HERE.

I was quite relieved to finally get some work done at the library.  My writing project has so much research that it takes a lot of time just to write a page or two.  

May God have mercy on us.  I know we are all struggling with burdens in our lives.  Lord have mercy on us.