The conversation was something like this:
me: “I want to go to church…someplace….on Easter.”
him: “okay. where?”
me: “doesn’t matter….this year.”
him: “this year?”
me: “next year it matters to me.”
him: “will you be Orthodox then?”
This is the hardest part of the journey so far, harder than the struggles in prayer and fasting, harder than figuring out how to parent my children during liturgy (which I have not yet attempted, by the way.) The hardest part is knowing that I’m going first…that maybe my husband will never choose Orthodoxy.
I think I’m alright with this on some level…I now understand my relationship with God to begin first in me, it has to begin in me. For as long as I seek to have my faith dependent on another person it will always be shifting as that person shifts. No matter how strong and dependable he is (and he is strong and dependable) he will always be human.
The whole idea of the “man as spiritual head of household” thing has been brought up to me, albeit in a sideways sort of approach. It’s about the third question people ask. It’s always a question but I hear it as a judgement. That’s my own work I guess, hearing it as judgement.
I’d like to say that I fully believe he’ll end up Orthodox…I wonder if I worry more that I won’t care if he does. I want to care but I don’t want to push. Having walked this with some intention now for the last 5 months I understand it as an odd cultural choice, the road less taken. I feel more like I’m entering a religious tradition than “joining a church.” I like this feeling. I’d become a monk if I could, or at least I say that I would. There is something about the unchanging face of Liturgy, the prayer of the hours, the isolation, the work life ethic…I imagine the depth of the daily struggle is beyond what I can fathom and yet I’m certain that peace which proceeds from this struggle is also beyond what I can fathom.
And so…as I turn my prayer toward finding my “sponsor” I am struck also by the deep grief of going it alone and the hope that it’s just for now.