Thanks to #blogtown, I’ve been able to discover several new and wonderful blogs written by my fellow Orthodox Christians. one blog that I am enjoying it immensely is Nic Hartmann’s Thoughts of a Metanoia Bum. One of his latest posts which is called Theophany: A Love Story, is a beautiful story about his journey from your typical English speaking Orthodox Church to one that is primarily Russian. Nic had only been Orthodox for about 6 months, and was struggling with the transition from one Church to another. I felt a connection as he talked about his journey and the struggles he faced. I especially enjoyed the part where he and his now wife were starting their relationship and how her first Orthodox service was Theophany. I was somewhat envious of Nic when he described in detail how he got ready for the frigid but blessed waters to be poured over him. I have never been to a Russian Orthodox theophany service where people actually jump into the ice cold lake. Well I have seen a teenager or two at my old church jump into the river after the cross, but the most I have ever experienced is the priest using an evergreen baum to sprinkle the parishioners with holy water. To jump in with that level of Orthodoxy, that amount of faith, it’s a difference to me between hanging out in the kiddie section of the pool and jumping fully clothed into the deep end.
Nic’s post brought me back to when my wife and I first joined the church in 2012. We were so excited even if we weren’t really 100% prepared. everything was so new and full of wonder and excitement. all the classes with father and all of the reading in the homework we had to do let up to that fateful day. we both took our turns in the giant horse trough and when we came out we were newly illumined members of the Orthodox Church. It felt almost magical.
Oh how I miss those days. To be newly illumined and wearing fresh white baptismal robes, at that moment I didn’t think I could ever be closer to God. I had such a hunger for the church, and even asked my priest if Seminary could be an option. Some days I still wish for Seminary, but I think that ship has sailed. Those were the good old days. For several years I enjoyed being a part of a wonderful church. I sang in the choir and participated in special reader services. One time during pascha I actually got to be a pallbearer for the epitaphios!
Unfortunately time moves on and there were personal rifts that I had to deal with. My wife and I ended up moving away from that wonderful church we were baptized in and haven’t really found a church that we could 100% call home. To once again use the example of a swimming pool, it was like we had jumped in fully to the deep end, but after swimming and then treading water, our arms got tired and so we made our way back to the kiddie section. We were still Orthodox, still in the pool, we just weren’t giving it everything we had. That was the worst part, just living day to day claiming to still be orthodox, but without putting in the effort. Thankfully my heart has been recharged and those days of inaction are gone. My involvement has been rekindled thanks to my involvement with the Ancient Faith writing community, and all of the love and support from my new Orthodox Facebook friends.
There is so much more that I desire from Orthodoxy, and even more of myself that I want to give back. My heart desires to be a reader. My soul desires closeness with God. I’m no longer just sitting in the shallow end, but I’m not all the way in the deep end yet either. I think it’s time for a literal leap of faith off the diving board of Orthodoxy.
Thanks for reading. don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, and I’ll see you all on Monday.
My old church in Bonners Ferry Idaho