As I sit quietly in front of my icons I say a prayer that is all too familiar to me. Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me a sinner. The new live in seminary and the uncertain role I am going to be stepping into sets in.
My husband might become priest one day and be responsible for many people. What would my role be to those people as a priests wife? Life here in seminary seems like a learning ground not just for the seminarians but also the ones that are not fortunate enough to learn about the nous and the natures of Christ.
As I read different books now about modern women, priests wife’s in the church and their lives I realize that I am entering uncharted territory. People back in California are already treating me different. Gossip seems to travel across the coast. So as I sit here and look at my icons I truly say the Jesus prayer with all my heart.
Once again another chapter in my life is being written and it’s scary as well as exciting. Life here in seminary is not just for my husband but for me as well. A battlefield I must train in.
Lord have mercy indeed.
“When your children are still small, you have to help them understand what is good. That is the deepest meaning of life.”
+ Elder Paisios
“Aww 8 months old, I bet you are getting sleep finally,” says the clerk at Petco. If only he knew that last night my son woke up after I have been asleep for 30 minutes and would not go back to sleep. What do people say about not judging a book by it’s cover again? Despite the sleep deprivation I have finally come to a point where the battle for my own pride is not worth fighting for anymore. That life is unpredictable and I need to let go of my own will. And the battle for good seems a bit more easier to fight.
I never thought in my life that being a parent is this chaotic. My son is now almost 8 months old and who knew that this little person would have to much energy. “You ever wonder if we will ever be used to it?” asks my sleep deprived husband. I am not sure if it ever gets better or if you just become more immune to the chaos that seems to build up as my son becomes more and more mobile and the energy level just keeps escalating. I find myself constantly comparing myself with other moms. “How is you kid sleeping? How are you doing things? Do you have a schedule?” I am not sure of anything anymore.
What I am thankful for is the great support that our own little church community provides with lots of moms willing to talk about their experiences and lots of ideas of how to channel kids energy into good little projects. I am working on the jealous factor that comes in from myself towards other moms that do seem to have everything together. The moms that have their kids sleeping through the night and just never seem sleep deprived and tell me that its all just so wonderful. Yes I am working on organizing the chaos within my heart.
This life is a spiritual struggle. To conquer or to be conquered! If we conquer, we will enjoy the fruits of victory through all eternity. If we are defeated, we will endure the horrors of destruction through all eternity. This life is a duel between man and all that opposes God. God is an almighty Ally to all who sincerely call upon Him for help. ” This life is not a joke or a plaything,” says Father John of Kronstadt, ‘but men turn it into a joke and plaything. The capricious play around with the time given to us for preparing for eternity; they play around with empty words. They gather together as guests, they sit and chatter and after that they sit and play this or that game. They gather in theaters, and there they entertain themselves. All of life is an amusement for them. But woe unto them who do nothing but entertain themselves!”
St. Nikolai Velimirovoc
What a great reflection to ponder on while we go on about our daily lives. How easily are we distracted by media and worldly cares. Even if we walk into McDonald’s there are TV screens. The other day I pulled up to a gas station and my son in the back seat was fascinated by the flashy screen that was showing the latest entertainment gossip while I was pumping gas, all in a short section just enough time to get into your head the headlines that don’t matter. It is at these times that when I read things that were written centuries ago makes me really realize that the book of Proverbs is true when it sates “vanity vanity, all is vanity. There is nothing new under the sun.”
As I get my fingers dirty in this world of motherhood, I start rethinking about what my priorities are. It seems like when I was single, life was so fast and nothing that I wanted to do could be stopped. Now everything that I wanted to do has stopped and focused on a little tiny person that has changed my life completely. I do not mind this change of heart. It makes me realize that all my plans that were made previous were not as important as this commitment called motherhood. Even if I do work on 4 hours of sleep and have a meltdown when I realize there is no more coffee in the house. I have not been thankful lately. I have been taking for granted everything that has been given to me. Thank God for His endless mercy. Without it I would have perished a long time ago.
A very good friend of ours is having twins and asked my husband and I to be Godparents to one of their boys. Well what an honer… except that I do not know the first thing about organizing any kind of baby shower event. Thankfully the Godmother that she had chosen for her other boy is very aware of what needs to be done for such an even. She put me in charge of a few items such as games and thank you baggies. I started having a total meltdown when I realized that I have never accomplished putting together such items in my life. How am I ever going to be a good mother that organizes lunch boxes for her kids is what came into my mind. Hence the meltdown.
I am not what you would call a girly girl. It is thanks to God and His mercy I have a son as a first child since I would not know what to do at all with trying to be girly. I jumped out of airplanes for fun (parachute included) dived the deep seas over 100 ft down (almost died a few times, my cat lives are running out) and jumped off a bridge (bungee cord included). Yes organizing an even and games is not in my nature.
With Google being my best friend in times of crisis, tomorrow is the day of the big bay shower event. “Mom is having to get out of her comfort zone” says my husband to my 6 month old boy that is staring blankly at me as I put together thank you gifts. Yes that statement says it all.
Yes the glorious Pascha. We have made it. We have fasted over 40 days and have reached the celebration that is the feast of feasts. Yet every year without fail more and more people that I talk to seem to confirm the feeling that I always seem to receive along with this Pascha season. Our priest calls it the “post Pascha blues.” All the services are now back to their normal schedule, the length of the services is no longer 4 hours and every year it feels so lonely to me. Here we are celebrating the Resurrection of Christ yet I always seem to loose the joy very fast. The everyday woes of life always catch up to me faster then I can notice them and I get just stuck in a funk. How do we keep the joy of the Resurrection with us?
It is the question that may take my whole life to answer, maybe that is why we do have Lent and Pascha every year. During our recent trip to the monastery I noticed how easy it was to get back to everyday cares right when we started driving back and hit a few gas stations. How easy it is to start caring about entertainment and food. The joy of simplicity is hard to keep. The joy of Pascha seems to be swept up and I start dealing with post Pascha blues and try to get the joy, as well as keep the joy, for as long as I can.
Yes we are packing our little bags grabbing our little 6 month old boy and going on a long overdue vacation. We are going to the monastery to visit the monks and nuns of Platina at St. Hermans then going to good ol San Francisco. Vacation with a little bundle of energy should be a new and exciting experience :o)
Recently I have been reading this book by Sofia Cavalletti. It is a great insight into a child’s mind and its religious potential. It is based on the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Montessori style program that is available for Sunday schools. We use this at our parish even though we had to modify lessons based on Orthodox teachings, however it is has been an eye opener for me so far and makes me view the upbringing of children differently.
always now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen”
As we gear up for the end of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week I think about how fast Lent went by this year. Maybe it is because it is true what they say about being a parent, life just moves faster once you have children. Maybe it is the lack of sleep and getting up every hour to comfort my son that is having a difficult time that made the days and nights blend in together. Whatever the reason I am glad that it is almost over and also sad. Glad because it has been a hard journey but sad because it has been spiritually refreshing. As my brother in law is getting ready to be get baptized this Lazarus Saturday I ponder on how he is just beginning his spiritual journey with Christ. Aren’t we all just beginners?