Thursday, December 30, 2010

Looking Back to Look Forward

In a few short weeks,
I'll return to tending the birds in my nest!
Thank you for your comments.  The Jesus Prayer really is the silver bullet for those things that rise up to frighten you.  I would say defeat, but honestly, if God is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:32).

I have had visits from my spiritual father preceding Christmas and they are a great comfort.  If you ever land in trouble, call your priest!  Call your spiritual father or mother, avail yourself of the sacraments as never before.  Don't be shy!  Had the Church not considered these things, they never would have created the office of Deacon which has been with us from the beginning.  Saint Stephen, pray for us!

So looking back to look forward a bit, my lovely, amazing, heroic husband, who has persevered against all trials and stumbling blocks that have been thrown his way since the day I left them, took me and five of our six children to Nativity of Our Lord Monastery in Kemp, Texas for the monastery blessing and the hierarchical liturgy.  Now, it was probably too soon for me too make such a long trip, but I loved this day.

We arrived late to the blessing, but on time for the liturgy.  Mother Barbara ushered all the children to the front so that they could see everything.  This was so generous because the chapel was packed and because she trusted the children so much to behave themselves out of their mothers' and fathers' sight.  Happily, the children responded well to this act of faith and were mostly still, very quiet, and exceedingly well behaved.

Look how still and quiet!  Fr. Joseph hardly had to even glance sideways!
Our now four year old, E.- we've celebrated two birthdays and three name days just the last four weeks- spent part of the time sitting in my lap and part of the time playing on the lawn just off the porch.  On a side note, sitting throughout the whole of liturgy was wonderfully strange.  Our parish, like many OCA parishes in the South, has only a few chairs around the perimeter for the elderly and infirm, so we all stand.  Because of the crush of people before and behind me and because of my injury, I was so blessed to be able to just sit and close my eyes and listen and pray in my heart as I have never before.  Well, for a moment.  But that was a powerful moment.

As I have mentioned before that Texas has some strange weather, especially right before the first week or two of January.  It was cold that day, but with a bit of exercise and a jacket, E. stayed warm and happy.  When she got too cold, she snuck in, climbed up into my lap, and then stuck one ice cold hand under my sweater on my bare neck and shoved the other, thumb first, into her mouth.  There she sat until it was time to receive and she willingly went with Mother Barbara to the get in line with her brothers and sisters.    It wasn't long before she came scampering back with hands full of antidoron.  As I had not yet received, I could not accept the blessed bits that she was trying to feed/cram into me, but it was cute.  Afterwards, the deacon traveling with Met. Jonah served me communion so that I did not have to try to use my walker (it's more like very slow skipping on one leg, all hop).  At which point, my wayward little imp had finished her load of blessed bread and was now demanding the piece offered me by the altar servers.  She got half.

Afterwards, we were treated to a lovely luncheon reception at the Cedar Creek Country Club.  The children were given preferential treatment and seated at the tables closest to the the guest of honor, Met. Jonah.  As if that weren't enough, the Metropolitan generously received them all first and gave them blessings and sweet gifts that had been prepared by the local mastushki.  Thank you so much, Met. Jonah!

It was a really beautiful day.  We left the monastery spiritually refreshed.  As I reflect on that day, it fills me with so much joy and happiness.  It reminds me how kind and great our Lord is.  I look forward to being fully reunited with my husband and children in our home.  I cannot wait to cook something, bake something, do something to return all the love that they have shown and given me all these weeks.  

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for revealing my path and salvation.  May I become worthy through Your grace of these blessings.


GretchenJoanna said...

What a wonderful blessed day...Thank God. Christ is born!

Matushka Anna said...

What a blessing to have such a trip! Met. Jonah is a true shepherd...

Michelle M. said...

I am sure this trip was exactly what you needed after all you've been through. May God give you continued strength. Your children sound wonderful. Aren't children the greatest blessing, particularly in times of struggle?