Thursday, October 18, 2007


Ow! I don't even know how to do this game...but dear William Weedon has tagged me, and apparently I am supposed to share seven true things about myself. As if anybody wanted to know...

Okay, okay.

1.) I grew up in an Army family; we traveled a lot. When we were stationed in Germany, my parents (and I) made the excellent decision to send me to a German school instead of the American. I went there two years and would not trade the experience. I had to take religion, too. The two established, state churches were the Katolische and the Evangelishe. I chose to take instruction in the latter, which meant Lutheran catechism, once a week.

2.) Six months or so ago, a social worker from hospice came to my father’s room in the retirement home to interview him and Mom and me. After a review of our family history and everybody’s feelings about it, the social worker said, “It sounds to me like the theme running through all this is gratitude.” Dad said, “That’s exactly right,” and Mom and I nodded tearfully. That’s true. There have been hard times and good times, heartbreaks and rejoicing, but the overall result, when we look back, is gratitude.

3.) Demetrios and I sold a property recently. He wants to use the money to buy a place to live in England or Scotland. I’m thinking an adorable, thatched-roof, stone cottage on some windswept moor, as if we could begin to afford that. He’s thinking (more realistically!) a tiny flat in a city like Liverpool or Glasgow. He likes city life, with lots of people all around. Liverpool or Glasgow sounds dreary to me, but he says I will love the way of life there, and okay, I can definitely appreciate the advantages of a northern climate from about mid-June to mid-August when Greece is an oven.

4.) I have two dreams. One is to live somewhere like Hawaii or Puerto Rico, where I can snorkel over a coral reef year-round, never see snow, and never have to wear a muffler or gloves or a winter coat. That’s the secular, carnal self dreaming that. Another side of me dreams of living in Russia, cold winter and all, and working, for minimal pay, at the orphanage I visited there, and having access to all those church services in Old Slavonic, with Russian music! And sharing the sweet communion of friendship with my “family” there, my godson and his parents (and brand new sister), and his grandparents. As between Hawaii and Russia, Greece seems a pretty good compromise! There’s an orphanage within walking distance of here (the one from which Mena was adopted!) and if we do end up spending most of every year here, I shall check that out.

5.) Demetrios is not the reason I became Orthodox. In fact, I met him in an Orthodox church I had already been attending for more than 3 years (without any intention of becoming Orthodox). I became Orthodox when I saw what a wealth of “stuff” (Tradition) Orthodoxy had that nobody else did. Not just, love your enemy, but HOW to go about loving your enemy. Not just forgive your brother, but HOW to accomplish that. St. Dorotheos of Gaza (I think it is) has a 26-step program for forgiving somebody! And it’s so cool because it’s so true. For example, one stage is when you no longer speak evil of a person, but you take a certain delight in it if someone else speaks evil of him! A sure sign you aren’t there yet. All this “stuff”, spiritual how-to, biblical commentary, etc., etc., I realized, was true teaching, and nobody else seemed to make much use of it. So I knew this was the True Church, years after I had given up supposing such a thing could exist.

6.) When I was a lonely ten-year-old (with a brother and sister 13 months apart who may as well have been twins), I prayed every night for a baby sister, to be my own. About a year later, she was born. Mom said it was going to be a boy and she would name him Christopher Robin, but I said it would be a girl and it was, named Barbara. She has cancer. It started five years ago in her breast. A year ago, on September 18, a metastasis was removed from her brain. This past April 18, one was partially removed from her spine. Then two spots appeared on her liver. She is cancer-free now, and hopefully forever. She became Orthodox last December 4, the feast of St. Barbara. Deb is her godmother; she’s the sister of Cindi (Mrs. William) Weedon.

7.) I’ve spoken twice to my guardian angel, over the telephone, I mean. I thought I was talking to a black policewoman who called herself, “Officer Childs.” She even spelled it for me, at my request. She gave me the information I so desperately needed. She told me how to go about verifying the information, and I later did, and it checked out in every detail, and it saved my family from disaster. She made me promise to call her back “at this same number when your nightmare is over, and tell me how it came out.” I did, but nobody at that number, or any number of any law enforcement agency in town, had ever heard of any “Officer Childs.” The only female officers in “Tel-Com” (Telephone Communications, which she had told me was her department) were Jones and Evans, both Caucasian. A private detective I knew vowed to find her for me, free of charge, but after a lot of investigation, all he could say was what the Greek priest also said, “It’s got to have been your guardian angel.” Indeed. Come to think of it, I wasn’t Orthodox then, either. I was an Episcohindubuddhapalian.

Now I'm supposed to tag someone else. Later! I've just been interruped. Friends want us to come for dinner.


Christopher Orr said...

My whole huge family is in Liverpool and there is a Greek church in the Toxteth neighborhood near the Anglican Cathedral and a ROCOR mission across the water in Birkenhead. I could always put you in touch with folks there. Liverpool is nice because it is only 30-45 minutes from Manchester, too, so easy for international travel.