Saturday, June 11, 2011

Living in Ormskirk, Part 03

Friday, 10 June
Evening at a Pub

Robbie is here. Robbie is Julia's Brazilian cousin. His mother and hers were sisters, but Robbie was born and raised in Brazil, and still lives there. He will be here in England a few days, then will tour parts of Eurpoe, meeting again with Julia and David later this month in Vienna.

He's somewhat dark-skinned, has a slight accent, and is good fun. Retired now, he used to teach information technology at a college there in the southern part of Brazil.

Nick came, too, David and Julia's younger son; first time we've seen him this year. He's teaching English at Bangor University and will be extremely busy the next two weeks, but after that, hopes to spend more time with us. We hope so, too, but don't know how realistic that may be, given that his dissertation is due in September, 2012.

Anyway, we met Robbie and Nick, Julia and David, James and Kim at the Star, a pub in their village of Rainford. The pub was quite crowded, mostly with people the others knew.

Somehow we had even more fun than usual, perhaps because of the two 'newcomers'; I don't know.

Robbie says winter where he lives in Brazil is like the weather we're having now, which is mostly dry (eastern England is officially in a drought now) but chilly; one needs both sweater and jacket, and we've kept a little heat on in our flat.

(But the most fun part is, the sun doesn't set this time of year until around 10:00, and even by 11:00, you can still see red sky in the west.)

I've been reflecting on my life, and in very recent years, at least, it seems to have been very easy, and to be all about having fun, and so disgustingly superficial, so obscenely trivial, I don't even know why I blog about it.

A priest once told me it's only pride wanting to live a heroic life; to do that is for very great souls, not souls like mine, and perhaps in His mercy, to look after Demetrios is the main thing God is calling me to do, and I should accept that and (at least for a beginning) concentrate on doing that as best I can.

I hope he was right! Because at least Demetrios does seem genuinely very happy now, in contrast to the miserable man I first met, who told me he had secretly been unhappy all his life, although he had put on a good front for his friends.

He's still working hard on his book, and perhaps that is another thing my life is about, helping him with that (arguing every paragraph with him). So far, it expresses very succinctly his thoughts, which in itself is a tremendous accomplishment, but is only for his own benefit. Now he needs to transform it into a piece of communication. So he's working on some explanatory notes, some definitions, and a few small diagrams to illustrate what he means. I told him even 'E=MC2' is meaningless unless one knows that E stands for 'Energy,' 'M' stand for 'Matter' and 'C' is not only for 'Constant', but specifically for the speed of light.  'And even to say that is meaningless unless you have some idea what the speed of light is,' I added.  So far, he has written only his very compact formulae, all of which need considerable unpacking.

Well, if it ever reaches the form it should, as I trust it shall, I shall feel very honored to have helped him with it.

So maybe my life isn't entirely useless, but it does feel that way just now.


Anam Cara said...

Well, my goodness, Anastasia! I would have never thought it!

"I've been reflecting on my life...."
Well, yes, we are all getting to that age. Thankfully, God has allowed that. It gives us a chance to see what we might have left undone that needed to be done - and then do it! It gives us a chance to remember how God was always there for us (even if it might not have seemed so at the time) and to tell of His faithfulness to others. It allows us to warn our children of where we failed so they won't stumble in the same places (experience is NOT the best teacher - a teacher is the best teacher!). It also allows us to share the knowledge (dare I say "wisdom") that comes with the gray hair.

"Maybe my life isn't entirely useless, but it does feel that way just now."

God is using you in ways you can’t see or even imagine. Once, while I was still a Protestant, the choir did an anthem about what happens after you go to heaven. In this song, you are greeted by your loved ones, then you see people you knew and interacted with (of course, all these people are Christian). Lastly you see people you don’t know. But this isn’t just a gathering of saints. These are people who came to Christ aided by something you did – the tertiary work – you gave money to support a mission, someone you taught about the Lord taught them, etc. The circle grows wider and wider; you can’t see the edges.

Jesus prayed in the garden, not just for his disciples, but for those who would believe because of their teaching. That includes you and me. But also those who hear aided by you and me. You don’t know what effect your actions have on people you meet. What seeds are you planting that you will never see harvested until we are in heaven?

You have no idea how many lives your blog touches. I have been Orthodox for just 9 years. I have read tons of books and attended services, Sunday, weekday, feast days, vespers. But sometimes, it is your blog that puts things in a way this feeble mind can understand. I printed off all of your "Why did Jesus die" posts and then painstakingly formatted them so that I could print them in a little booklet form so it would be easier for me to refer to than finding it on the blog. Then I printed a copy and have looked at it more times than I can remember. I have shared things made clear to me through your blog with people I know, mostly non-Orthodox and who knows how many people they then shared with?

Useless? Hardly! If you were useless, you wouldn’t be here anymore! God still has plans for you, a “use” for you, if it is only to show others how to praise him more!

Right this moment, He is teaching me how to be truly happy for someone else’s fortunes and not be envious. I am living vicariously and enjoying every minute! And for once, I am not thinking, :”Oh, MAN! Why can’t I do that????”

It is good that you are helping Demetrios with his book, but really, you should gather together a bunch of your blogs and have them published! I am a little envious in that – I wish I could write as you do, explaining complex ideas as you do. But perhaps the problem lies with the fact that I still just don’t have the understanding needed yet to be able to simplify and explain.

I thank God for you! I thank Him for your understanding! And I thank Him that you are willing to share the insights you are given! And I am thankful that I found your blog years ago!

elizabeth said...

we do feel that way sometimes hey? we have to focus on loving others as Christ and let Christ increase in us; God promises to help us. I hope you have a blessed Pentecost.