Wednesday 01 May
Today is moving day for Christos, my brother-in-law. Two men and a truck have been hired. Demetrios will help however he can, and Christos' friend from childhood, Chara, has volunteered to help, as well. We hope Christos will be more nearly happy here in town, where his friends and family can see him more often, where he can live more cheaply, where his doctors are. We hope this will help to lift his spirits.
The latest guess as to his diagnosis is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, made significantly worse by depression.
I'm just over halfway through with The Brothers Karamazov, and so far, what has struck me most is one sentence: "It only takes one day for a man to know all happiness." !!! All true happiness, of course, flows from one Source, one infinite Joy, and having encountered Him, you have encountered every real joy there is. (And conversely, no matter hat your religion is, any time you encounter a deep, true, abiding Joy, you have one way or the other encountered the Source of it.)
In spite of the wag's remark about something being as depressing as a Russian novel, I discover that this novel is mostly about Joy. But Dostoyevsky has to bring in great sorrow and suffering to illustrate his point: that Joy shines through sorrow, shines on with or without sorrow, and conquers sorrow. I have often emphasized authentic Christianity as the religion of Love, but yes, it is also the one and only religion of Joy.
I went to see Lorraine on Monday. She's the En glishwoman who runs the Mini Market across the street from us. It was my first solo outing. I can get down the curb just fine, but still needed he help getting up the curb on the other side.
She has very little use for Greeks in general (except, presumably, the one to whom she is married) or anything Greek. She doesn't like the way they tend to be quite familiar with you on first meeting. I said, 'They want to be friends with you right away.'
'Yes, but that's a false friendship, isn't it?'
??? It is? How could one tell? Why should a quickly-formed friendship necessarily be false? I have made intimate friends here in one evening, and the years have only added more proof to their true nature.
A customer came in while we were talking and, hearing us converse in English, joined the conversation He had no use for Greeks, either, and was thoroughly disillusioned by he country to which he had fled, hoping to find freedom. Of course there is no more freedom here, only the semblance of it; I understand that, but it doesn't mean the Greeks are bad people in general; it means they've been had. I didn't say much, as neither of the others seemed ready to hear a different perspective. Ali, who it turns out is Palestinian, ended up inviting Lorraine and me and our husbands to dinner; his wife would be very happy to cook for us. I would take him up on it, too, but he lives on the 7th floor of a building without elevators. I gazed down at my foot and said, 'Well...'
Lorraine has no use for Orthodoxy, either. He first encounter with it was quite unfortunate. It was at her wedding in a Greek Orthodox Church; the priest wouldn't let the bride and groom or any of the guests into the church until he had been paid, until he had 150 Euros in his hand. I observed that this was not Orthodox, nor even Christian. At our wedding, the priest never mentioned money We slipped him a gift after the ceremony.
Lorraine is also incensed (pun?) by young children being "forced" to cross themselves and kiss icons, even when they are too young understand what they are doing. I don't remember what I said in reply, if anything. I suppose the real issue is whether these things ought ever to be done at all, by anybody; otherwise teaching the children to do them wouldn't be an issue.
Well, we may have some interesting conversations ahead of us - or not, if her mind is made up.
Anyway, I enjoyed the hour I spent with her and hope to repeat the visit soon.
Here's a moebius scarf I knitted. The sparkles don't show...