Twenty Years Ago Today


Twenty years ago today, I witnessed the birth of our third child, our son, James. Always a joy to our heart and those of others he has become a young man of whom I am proud and whose company is a delight.

He was ten years old when I announced to the complete family that we were converting to Orthodoxy. He had heard nothing of this before and had been blissfully enjoying his life in our parish (Episcopal). At the announcement he became very upset and with great emotion began to question the decision.

I took him aside and said, “Son I need to tell you some things that I have not spoken about to you before.” I could not discuss the problems and debates of human sexuality in the Episcopal Church because I could not imagine my first conversation with my son on the topic of sex being that of same-sex unions. Instead I began to tell him of Bishops who had denied the resurrection of Christ and His divinity.

As I was relating all of this to him his eyes got wider and wider. Finally, in a burst of indignation he yelled, “But…but…that’s just Buddhism!” I don’t think he knew anything at all about Buddhism, but it was the only word he had in his 10 year-old vocabulary to say that something was heretical.

In a very short time he became my constant Church companion, arriving very early at Church with me (which was now in a warehouse), lighting candles, preparing everything for the morning’s service. His company and enthusiasm was a strength for me he could never have imagined.

He is getting married this summer to a wonderful Orthodox young woman from my wife’s hometown. They met as young teenagers at a Youth Retreat, renewing their relationship each year as summer returned. We could not be happier with whom God has chosen for him.

He stated goal in life, relayed to me a year or so ago was simple: “I want to be married and finish college. I would like to have a job that’s not too boring. I want to live in Oak Ridge and have children, and raise them in the parish I founded.”

As always, music to my ears. Happy birthday, son, and may God grant you many years!


  1. Jeff Lee says

    Many years, James.

    My oldest was 11 when we converted last year. He, too, struggled with the notion of us leaving our Episcopal parish and all his friends. He still misses seeing them on Sunday.

    However, he, too, has thrown himself into Orthodoxy with quite a bit of energy, for which I am thankful. Most Sunday’s he is in the altar serving, even when not scheduled. Like James, I don’t know if he’ll ever appreciate how important that is for me, and what strength I derive from that.