Monday, May 31, 2004

Quote of the day

The beginning of philosophy is to feel a sense of wonder.
Plato

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Have you ever...? OR What I like about my job

I have to relate what one of my residents(patients) said to me at work tonight. This lady, in her 80's, was laying in bed, and I had just given her her medicine. I had my back to her, and was washing my hands at the sink. She said "Did I ever tell you about the time I peed on a cow?" Yep, that's what she said. Of course I turned around and said, "What did you just say?" Her reply: "Well, I grew up on a farm in Oklahoma... my sister and I were up in the rafters of the barn. We were bored and didn't have anything to do, we looked down, and there was the cow under us, so we peed on it."
If anyone ever asks what I like about my job, it's always my patients. Even the ones that scream for half the day, when they says something like that..it's all worth it for me. It makes my day a little brighter. I have one man who calls his wife every night with my help, and tells his wife I'm there, but he never gets my name quite right, first it was right...Truelove, then it was Lovejoy, then Strangelove, last week it was Moonlover. But his wife always knows it's me:) She spends the whole day there with him, then he calls her when she leaves to make sure she got home alright. He always says to me, "Don't go away mad, just go away."
There's another lady, very small and in a wheelchair, when she wants to go to bed she sings this song, "Show me the way to go home, I'm tired and I want to go to bed, I had a drink about an hour ago, and it went straight to my head."
I've collected many stories. More will be on the way.

CD list

Here's the last 10 CD's I've listened to:
10.Pete Yorn: Musicforthemorningafter
9.Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits
8.Weezer: maladroit
7.The Beatles: Abbey Road
6.Foo Fighters: One by one
5.Sunny Day Realestate: diary
4.Django Reinhardt: jazz masters
3.Beach Boys: Pet Sounds
2.U2 The Best of 1990-2000
1.U2 The Best of 1980-1990

Worship

This was just popping around in my head this weekend. It has to do with the other chapter we discussed at book club last week, The Theology of Worship. There were a couple different points he mentioned, this is only one(or two) I was thinking about. Of course, everything comes back to me comparing it to protestantism, because that's what I was raised with.So of course, someone, like my mom, would say "Why the icons, or the candles, or the robes(vestments), etc?" so because I am a newbie and I don't claim to come up with Theological truths, I will point back to what I've read "without the sense of mystery we are not truly human. Worship is more than a form of proclamation through the spoken word, and the liturgical assembly is more than a public meeting with speeches and announcements."
"To an Orthodox Christian it is of the utmost importance that the act of worship should express the joy and beauty of the Kingom of heaven... This joy and beauty of the Kingdom cannot be properly expounded in abstract arguments and logical explanations; it has to be experienced, not discussed...These simple gestures express, far better than any words, our whole attitude towards God, all our love and adoration; and without such actions our worship would be greatly impoverished."

"The whole value of the symbol in worship is that it expresses something which cannot be said through the spoken word alone, that it reaches a part of our being which cannot be touched by rational arguments. The symbol is on the one hand simpler and more immediately accessible than a verbal explanation, and on the other hand it penetrates more deeply into the heart of reality."
"The Orthodox Church in her prayer makes use of the primary realities of human existence, such as bread and water, light and fire. If people in an urban and technological environment no longer find these primary realities meaningful, then is this not a disturbing indictment of the artificiality and unreality of contemporary "civilization"? Perhaps what is needed is not a change in the symbols but a change in us..."
I had observations to make on this, but of course I thought of them while I was at work, and now I can't remember. At any rate, if someone asked, all I would be able to say is, it feels more like prayer, and it feels more like how worship should be. The teaching that we ascend to heaven during the Divine Liturgy, and participate in the Kingdom of God in heaven, that we are surrounded by angels, that really moves me. Sometimes I get it, often I miss. I try to quiet my head, and participate. It's very difficult, all of a sudden I will realize I've been staring at the ceiling and thinking of my "To do" list. So I have a constant struggle. But I feel the worship and the rightness of it so much more acutely than my experiences before. It's not something I can explain to someone who doesn't get it, it has to be felt.
So now I'm going to go get ready to participate in that Theological Mystery... Divine Liturgy.
Have a Blessed Pentecost.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Parents

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my mom and step-dad are on a cruise from Greece to Italy. I received an email a few days ago, as they have internet on the "luxury cruiseship". Which of course, first off, is not my idea of a vacation, it's like a giant floating mall. But that's not my point. In her email my mom said (I'm already laughing hysterically), that Greece is nice and quaint, but not as beautiful as Maui! Granted Hawaii is beautiful, in the non-touristy sections, which are getting fewer and farther between...but Greece is NOT the sub-tropics. I wish they would think outside of their little box more. Well, I guess at least they are there, even if it is a cruise, and at least it is not the condo on Maui. My mom's idea of camping was renting a luxury motorhome. Which is why I always went camping with my dad. My mom would rather spend the weekend laying by the pool. Yuck. Anyways, I thought the comparison of Maui and Greece was too funny, of course I had to email her back and scold her. She didn't respond.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Water

I forgot to mention yesterday's book club. We discussed two chapters of the book(Inner Kingdom, Bishop Kallistos Ware). Here's some passages from the chapter titled A Sense of Wonder, about the Great Blessing of Waters:
"Through the power of God incarnate shown in His Baptism in the Jordan, all persons and all things can be made holy, can be transfigured and rendered Spirit-bearing. All things are capable of acting as sacraments of God's presence."
"Water, earth, sky, the human body and the whole human person with its emotions and affections - through Christ's Incarnation and Baptism these are all reborn, transformed, hallowed. The Great Blessing of the Waters is in this way a proclamation that the universe around us is not a chaos but a cosmos.
There is glory in everything; this is a world full of wonder."

Pure Heart

But to know truly, to see reality in an adequate manner, it is not enough to look, listen, or even to love. We must also have a pure heart capable of finding God beyond the darkness which hides Him. Just as an unclear eye projects its own shadow on all it sees, so an impure heart cannot judge or see things in the way that God sees them.
Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, from Courage To Pray

Broken Glass

Two cars were broken into at work tonight, in the public parking lot next to the building. Many of us on the evening shift have to park there, because the morning shift people are still working when we get there, and there is no where else to park. I am so glad I had an alarm put in the truck, after it was broken into in my apartment parking lot in Kirkland. At first I didn't even turn it on when I moved over here, it's Poulsbo, after all. I have been turning it on all the time at work now. There are car break-in's so often here. I just don't understand.

Exploring

After Liturgy on Sunday, and packing up the church (the burden of not having our own space), I drove home and then decided to keep going up the road. I drove around Seabeck for a while, and then found a place to stop and get out, Guillmot Cove Nature Reserve. It had some trails down hill, and was very peaceful and quiet. I spent a good hour on the trails, it was very nice. I will have to go back, if I can find my way :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Kittens

My upstairs neighbor's cat had kittens yesterday morning. If all goes well, I will have one for my home. We'll see if Nani can make a friend. I wanted someone to keep her company when I'm not home. I have never seen baby kittens, they are so small.

Finally

I had a long talk with my Priest. I've figured some things out about myself. It took a long time. I'm a recovering shy person. I figured out, that for me at least, I was always more worried about what people thought than about living my life. I still call myself shy, but I am going to stop. I enjoy living life. I'm not worrying about what so and so thinks, I will just do what I feel comfortable with, and leave it at that. In the context of my Faith, and my working out of my salvation. I want to experience life, do things. So I am not going to hide behind my old self. Part of this also has to do with thinking about the fact that I haven't seen my ex in over a year. I was a different person in so many ways. I can't regret what happened, because I can't change it. But I have moved on, and learned from it. I almost feel like it wasn't me in that marriage, but a shadow. I have owned it though, and like I said, it's over. I may not be making any sense now. So maybe I'll come along later and delete this. I'm blessed to have people in my life now that are loving, and open, and enjoy life, and love God. I am so thankful for my friends. I may come back and say more on this later.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Sunset

I tried to go to vespers tonight. I got all the way to the church. The parking lot was empty. I looked down at my cell phone, and saw the little lcd envelope. A message from Fr that it's been cancelled tonight. I didn't want to turn around and drive another 45 minutes. Then someone else pulled up from church. She invited me to follow her to Bainbrige Island to the state park for a walk. That was awesome. She doesn't come very often, and I don't talk to (new) people very much, so it was nice. The sky had cleared enough to see some blue, and it was nice and cool. I love the water, and I could see Seattle across the way. Just enough to remind me that it's good to be on this side. :) There was an otter swimming and playing in the water. We talked about church, and things in the news, such as the Orthodox Church in North Korea. Also about the Bishop Kallistos Ware book, she hasn't come to the book club, but just finished the book. Anyways, it was a nice evening. The sunset was beautiful. It was so nice to be outside. I love the fresh air. The island is so pretty, green, and peaceful. Did I ever mention that I love the pacific northwest? I do. On the way back to the highway, I saw a deer. Now of course I am back at home. Earlier today I cooked Chicken Adobo for coffee hour tomorrow, and the house still smells like it. But it's cold from when I had the windows open all day before I left for church.

In other news

My mom and step-dad flew to Athens yesterday. They are going on a cruise, in Greece and Italy. I am very excited for them, as they never go anywhere new for vacations. It's always Maui. I found out about their trip when my mom called me on the phone one day (she never calls me...I call her, so this itself was a shock) and said "So what do you want from the Vatican?" This still makes me giggle. I said "What are you talking about?" "Oh, we're going on a cruise to Greece, and Italy." So of course my reply was, "I don't want anything from the Vatican, bring me something from Greece." They are still skeptical about my conversion, and don't want to really hear what I have to say. So I don't say much anymore. It's one of those things where if they are really wanting to know, they can ask. Otherwise they ask just to argue a point. But maybe they will learn a little more just being there in Greece. I pray it would be so.
I finally have a spayed dog. Still a drama-queen, but spayed. She of course, was the smallest dog there. She took almost two hours to recover! She started crying as soon as they took the anesthesia off, everyone in the gymnasium turned to look at this noise. It was really pitiful, but funny. So now she's recovering at home, and sleeping alot. Which means the cats that hang-out on my deck get to have a reprieve from her attacking them, she can tell they're there even with the blinds shut. So when she starts barking at them, I open the door and let her out to chase them off the deck.It's funny, they're alot bigger than her. :)

Working out my salvation

I was talking about this subject with a friend last night. It's a new term, and idea for us converts to Orthodoxy. So I am working out my salvation daily, with what I do, how I talk to people, and treat them. My friend is working out her salvation in her marriage and family, being a wife and mother. Another thing we were talking about is prayer, how it is done and what it means, in opposition to how we were raised with it in protestant churches. We both come from a background of, pray to God for what you want. In my mind I picture Benny Hinn slapping people on the forhead, though that is an extreme example, and I don't know anyone who follows him. There is a prayer in my commemoration book, to pray for someone more diligently, and at the end of the prayer it says "And do whatever is profitable for our souls." What a new idea to my little world! I love that. It is a very difficult idea. For God to do what he will, not what I would like, I have found that many things that I have wanted for my life have not been for the best. Though to look at what I just said, that's not to say that if they weren't the best they were not profitable to my soul.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Repentance

Today at the book club we discussed the chapter on repentance (from the collected works of Bishop Kallistos Ware, vol 1. It starts off with a bang ..."This life has been given to you for repentance. Do not waste it on other things." St Isaac the Syrian. The discussion on the meaning of that was interesting. Questioning what does St Isaac mean by other things? Well a thought that made sense was to continually live your life facing Christ. The ideas in this chapter continually build on another, and are really fleshed out. Coming from a protestant background, the Orthodox teachings of repentance are very different. The joy of repentance, "To repent, in other words, is to recognize that there is good as well as evil, love as well as hatred; and it is to affirm that the good is stronger, to believe in the final victory of love. The repentant person is the one who accepts the miracle that God does indeed have power to forgive sins." This chapter really helped me with my understanding of confession, being still fairly new at it. Also the explanation of the Greek metanoia"change of mind" "...not just regret for the past, but a fundamental transformation of our outlook, a new way of looking at ourselves, at others and at God." I have definitely felt a significant change in all those areas. Not to say that I am done by any means, and here's another quote, from St Sisoes as he lay dying "I am not sure whether I have even begun to repent." How much more for me. Someone today mentioned an idea that on the singing of Many Years, is for God to grant you many years to keep on repenting. Lord have mercy.
I am still reading other things as well. Someone at the book club pulled out Fr Arseny to read some things having to do with confession and repentance from that. What an amazing book. I read that a few months back.
On another subject, I am finally getting my dog spayed. The Humane Society is doing FREE spay and neuters at the Tribal Center in Suquamish. It just happens that I had Nani scheduled for it at the vet this week, so I cancelled. Can't pass an opportunity to save some money. So I am getting up VERY early in the morning for that. Yet here I am rambling on. I can't help it.
One very last thing, it really sucks not being self-employed. The morale at work is really low, people are getting fired. When the administrator comes around, you can't help thinking, am I next? I dream of the day I can quit. Have my own house, and do my own thing. How is it good for any buisness to treat employees this way, especially a place that is supposed to CARE for PEOPLE, and part of the motto is "let everything be done in love"? I will never understand. I just keep in mind the Gospel reading from this last Sunday, the blind man that was healed by Christ, "So that Christ might be revealed", I pray that my little, petty life might be to the glory of God, and my selfish sufferings. Lord have mercy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Currently Reading

We have a book club at the mission that meets once a week. We're on our second book, which is The Inner Kingdom by Bishop Kallistos Ware. We actually didn't meet this week because of the Washigton Orthodox Clergy Association meeting. I really like this book so far, though I was sure I would. Two of the first books I read when inquiring into the faith were The Orthodox Church and The Orthodox Way. The first chapter in The Inner Kingdom is about his journey to the faith. It was a really interesting discusion because then we all told about our conversions. Since everyone there that days was converts. One quote from the chapter that explained exactly how I felt "The more I learnt about Orthodoxy, the more I realized: this is what I have always believed in my inmost self, but never before did I hear it so well expressed. I did not find Orthodoxy archaic, foreign or exotic. To me it was nothing other than simple Christianity." That really sums up my experience. Fr Christopher even said he thought I would have a lot more reservations on certain things, coming from a Protestant/Pentecostal background. Such as venerating icons and things like that. I think though that I was ready, I had become so disillusioned with Protestantism that I didn't even look back at all. I will have more comments on that at another time. So here I am. At our next meeting we will discuss the third chapter, which is on repentance. I've already read it, but I'll go back through it again. I'm actually in the fifth chapter now. But I haven't read anything this week. I am now 88 pages into The Brothers Karamazov ( Fyodor Dostoyevsky in case you don't know). Which I had never read yet. There are several books that I have yet to finish that I am partially through.

A Beginning

Well, here I am. I'm just trying this out. After I told someone I definitely would not do this. I don't have anything to say right now though. So I'll come back later.
addition 6/21/04... When converting, my priest feels very strongly about having a Saint close to your name. As there is no St Dawn, I went to my middle name, which is Marie, and ended up with St Mary Magdalene. I waivered at first, not wanting to pick someone so well known, but her pure love for Christ is something I long for, who better could I ask to pray for me?