Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Death, or something like it

This is piecings of a thoughtful evening and may be added to at some point in the future.
Today in church there sat the open casket of one of our parishoners, Stella (Stephanida) Seminuk. I was not prepared to see her when I entered, only tomorrow after the Liturgy for the funeral service. She was there for the Pannikhida service right before the vigil, in the middle of the church. Lots of people were there, even people I have not seen in ages, coming together the way death sort of has its way. In the flicker of the candlelight, in a somber kind of way, people took their turns to see her for the first time since her passing, to pray, reflect, love and greet. We all aren't sure what to say, I guess there isn't much. Stella was an old woman, she had a full life, it was to be expected as ill as she has been. But still, an indescribable feeling of loss, not only of Stella, but of ourselves in that casket with her. I understand better what it is about death that makes us selfish...we are because we have to relate. We must relate to this part of life, death is as sure as God. I think that it is such a mercy God has given us to participate in death, we get to feel what it is like to lose a person, find ourselves and in such a short time, understand our lives more clearly, our purpose.
I cried and I was trying to think about why. I did not know her well, only bits and pieces, a very nice woman to the end. I came to the conclusion that I cried because my heart ached and I did not know what else to do, there IS not anything else to do when someone dies. We start to realize how little time we actually have, as simple and silly as that may sound, but it holds up the mirror of mortality and shows us the fork in the road to the path of our own slavation. Which way we turn is our own choice, into ourselves for consolation or to God for guidance.
I was thinking about how the soul is freed when we die...freed from the shell of a body that does our bidding in our web of sins. No longer is it trapped, no longer can we sin. When we pray for one another when we are living they most certainly help us to follow our own paths to salvation, but, nonetheless, we continue to sin no matter how hard we try. When we die, that is the end to sin. This is why it is soooo important to pray for those who have passed away. For us that live, it is an uphill battle...for those who have died, they have no more affliction of the human condition, no more ability to sin and our prayers no longer fight the current of this raging river of life. In sin do we pray, but from love we are heard.
There is so much more hope in death than life. So much that Christ has taught us to be prepared because it really does not matter what we do in our lives unless we are properly preparing for the eternal life for which Christ died. We can learn and love and so mch more, but our purpose is eternity with Him. Preparing for our own death is not a terrible thing, but one to be taken seriously since that is where our souls spend eternity. It doesn't matter whether we think we know what God wants, or if there even is a God, we will all find out when we are dead and I would rather be ready for it than caught off-guard. In death, there is so much hope, just as Christ has given us hope of eternal life through His sacrifice. We will always miss people, in our own has been said that 'misery loves company...' and nowhere do I find it more true than in our need to connect with one another. We seek others to comfort us in our affliction, Christ is our comfort...His saints are a great comfort as well...they prove that the Holy life that Christ lives is possible and True in every way. His promise holds true and keeps us going in Faith, Love and Prayer.
In love I write and love I keep, most steadfastly and to the best of my ability. May God bless everyone on their paths and Lord have Mercy on us all!
Much love, me

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hmmm...the meaning of life?

Everything good has already been said, there is nothing more to say, but I will beat the dead horse anyway. I guess there are a lot of ways to say the same things over and over, in the end, what does it matter? We are all on our own paths to salvation, our ideas, thoughts and judgement are of no consequence. What is the meaning of life? Is it to come up with our own ideas of what life should mean to us? Is it to serve God? Is it to create our own 'destiny'? It is funny because, in the scheme of things, it doesn't matter what I think, only what I do. Do I actively follow God? Hmmm, tough question...there are so many levels at which we can do this...since I am on my own 'personalized' journey toward salvation, then yes, so long as I participate in church and try to listen when God speaks, I only hope that it does not fall on deaf ears. What of this life? I mean, really? To love, share, hope, cry, give, recieve, gain or lose...all these things are human, but what good are they? Do they have any purpose? I think so. I think they are our tools and also our comfort. We learn from all of this and are comforted when things fall into place. When will we all learn, "...and the greatest of these is LOVE." God tells us this and we talk as if we know anything and are still so blind to its beauty and simplicity. He gives it to us and we are too silly to realize what we have. I am no different, I misuse nearly everything that has been given to me....but for God's guidance, I am able to glimpse something more than what I am and strive to become. I see the beauty, I hear the call, I feel the love, if only briefly as a silly human. Maybe I will seek the silence...I like this quote, "A quiet man is not always wise, but a wise man is always quiet." What would the world be like if we couldn't mess things up with our tongues and emotion? If we understood that our words usually hinder us from our intent. I feel like my tongue has been cut from the stone of Pride, to speak is to believe that my words are of some value. If the words I utter are any besides those of love, what good are they? Seriously? Not that we should have people step on us, but if our only response was one of love....a hug, a kind word, a smile...ahhh, but then we get to the fact that we are fallen and imperfect and therefore have to accept our fate as thus. We can follow God as He prescribes, to the best of our abilities and perhaps one day, I will be quiet and just hug people with a smile. I suppose it is not do unto others as you would have them do to you...but maybe more like, do unto others as Christ would do unto you....selfless, perfect love and kindness.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

"Mommy, where does God live?"

Yep, she asked the other night when we were walking around the neighborhood with the dog. What was my answer? "Well, let's see...some would say in the Heavens, since in the beginning He made the Heavens and the Earth and if we are here on earth He is there."
"Where are the Heavens?"
"Well, the if the earth is here, many people look to the Heavens up where the stars and sky are."
"He is in the Heavens with the Saints and the Angels..."
"Like I get to be an Angel in the Christmas show?"
"That's right, my love, just like that." I say, smiling on my face and in my heart. "God is also everywhere since He made everything. He is in the trees and the dirt and the grass and the stars...and He made the cats and the..."
"and the dogs and the people and the cars..."
I must say, it is interesting to try to explain that while she is right because nothing happens without God, the actual cars were not made by His hands but through the people whom He gave the brains to use the materials which He created to thinkit up and put it together.
That was mostly it, my darling little daughter and her bright little mind...I love her so if there was any question.

Little Tsarevich Dunn

Well, let me see...I am hoping to have another baby, it is nothing new to those that know me. The waiting has been a true test of patience and I am prepared to wait for eternity if I must, but for some reason I have always felt that God would give us more than one. Call me crazy, but I have known, somehow in my heart we would have more, but would have to wait. Knowing that we might have to wait does not make the waiting any easier and doesn't stop the thinking about how maybe I am wrong and it REALLY could happen anytime. We have never prevented getting pregnant and do not ever plan to, so we are certainly an example that you do not end up with a dozen kids simply because you don't use any birth control. Of course, all is God's will, whether to have 12 or 2 or zero as the case is for some. I cannot explain it, for some I won't need to, but I feel like this just might be the month for it again...please pray for me as I struggle through this...I ask specifically for you to pray for me/us to St Xenia (since she is my Patron), St John the Wonderworker, Sts Elizabeth (both the righteous mother of our Forerunner and also our New Martyr of Russia), St Seraphim of Sarov and Royal Martyr Alexandra. Even more specifically, I am praying for a boy...Royal Martyr Alexandra went to the glorification of St Seraphim and paryed that he help her pray to have a son, and heir to the throne and one year later Tsarevich Alexis was born. Just pray that God's will be done and that if I am to have a baby, our boy might be in line, our little Jon. Whether we get pregnant or not, it will be to the glory of God, that if we are at month's end it will be God's miracle and if we are not, I will continue my lesson in patience and a greater purpose for my time will be eventual. Both results will produce God's will. I know that there are some who do not believe in the saints and their ability to speak to God on our behalf...they are our Christian family, so just speak as if you are asking a family member who has past something, your prayers will be heard. Even if it does not happen this month, I am confident that God will hear our prayers and set the right time in motion. Thank you for everyone's love, support and prayers, most of all. Please forgive me if I have offended anyone, in word or deed, mind or thought, known or unknown, please forgive me a sinner. I do not ask it often enough of all of those whom I love, and love me. Much love and prayers to all.