Monday, September 10, 2012

Saturday, September 08

The crowded days have flown by and so has our stay in England.  The days nights lengthen more precipitously here than they do in the more southern climes to which we are accustomed and to which we soon return.  This time next week we shall be in Greece. 

For me, the biggest joy of the last several days was attending the Church of the Holy Apostles in Leyland.  It really was a piece of heaven on earth.  I was reduced to tears almost immediately. 

A radiant, smiling angel approached me to embrace me; I blinked and it was Presbytera.  A woman to my left also turned to greet me and introduce herself; at the coffee hour afterwards, I learned she was the other Presbytera.  A man named David was chrismated after 22 years.  (!) 

At last, at last, a parish that feeds me.  I'm no shepherd, to feed the sheep.  I'm more like the sheep that needs feeding.  Truth to tell, I'm the goat who needs re-fashioning into a sheep.  But yes,  the goats are most welcome here!  Here is where the unfathomable reality becomes concrete:  that Christ loves me - unconditionally!  (That, for me, is the hard part to comprehend.)  Here is embodied the mystery that Christ died for me, lives for me, even counts me one of His flock.  Here, all this is as obvious as the daylight.

The best part of all, perhaps, is that Demetrios agrees with me that this is the church we ought to attend while we are in England.  We've even learned the way to get there, driving, although the way back home is still a puzzle.

Another great joy this week was our reunion with John Coventry, and meeting his wife Ella.  We raised our wine glasses and Demetrios said what he has been waiting 50 years to say:  "Good troughing!"  (That story here.)

I mentioned that Demetrios still speaks of Dr. and Mrs. Coventry (John's parents) in reverential tones and John said yes, his mother loved him, often said how sad he looked (because he was), and always called Demetrios her "other son". 

Obviously there was a great deal of reminiscing, but for blog purposes, probably the most interesting item was John's recounting of his father's World War II log.  His father was a prisoner of war and kept a journal.  In fact, he was a prisoner of war in Sagen, where the Great Escape took place.  And yes, he was very much involved with the Great Escape.  As he had already passed his A-level exams in chemistry, he was put to work producing the dye for the escape clothing.  The men's uniforms, in RAF blue, had to be altered and dyed, and John's dad made the dyes. 

John, who only discovered all this after his father's death, has been working for over a year now, typing the war journals on his computer. 

A true friendship is one you can pick right up where it left off, long ago, and nothing between the friends has changed.

Demetrios found it sad to see John, whom he had known in his twenties, now an old man.  I told him John probably feels the same, looking at Demetrios.  Never mind; they still more or less still have their health.  And Ella, his wife, is delightful.  So it was a wonderful evening.


James the Thickheaded said...

What a joy to find both friends, angels, and an (Orthodox?) church for you both. It lifts the heart, and even from this distance... seems as though I can share in that. Amazing. Thank you for writing it up so sweetly!

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

That's part of the beauty of it, isn't it? That we all can and do share in one another.