Another Sunday, another Divine Liturgy to experience in yet another Orthodox church. I wasn’t going to go. I thought I’d stick with St George and the Dragon. Something gnawed at me, though, and each time I thought about going back I was uneasy. I had questions, I had reservations. I was pretty sure they were all about me and my shortcomings. I’d dialogue with myself about this all day long.
Won’t wear a dress?
Why am I so rebellious?
Don’t like the choir?
Why does church have to fit me?
Feel like a fish out of water?
Don’t be so dramatic.
And then I’d start to think about all the tattoos and piercings I’d have to get to compensate for the “must wear a dress” rule.
Plus, I’d begun to feel like Goldilocks…always finding fault, always making presumptions, taking and taking. Who on earth would feel sorry for Goldilocks, anyway? Home invader, stealing porridge, breaking furniture and then taking a nap in a the home of strangers, the home she just trashed.
I thought I’d just stay put. I thought I’d just ask Father P to chrismate me in Nashville instead when I visit so that I’d at least have that part settled. I could visit as a relative then, rather than a tourist.
Instead, I decided to ask for help, insight, discernment. I’ve typically had a sort of scattergun approach to this in the past. I get amazing advice and encouragement from my Nashville folk and for that I’m thankful. This time, though, I needed more and so I asked someone I’ve never met. The internet makes it easy, really.
Lucky for me I had a man on the inside to vouch for me, that I wasn’t a weirdo or a stalker. I’m pretty sure he told his wife I wasn’t a weirdo or a stalker, at least. At any rate we did connect and I did get what I needed right then, like a marathon runner getting Gatorade when she really only expected water. I suppose I didn’t know I needed the electrolytes right then. And then I knew that I ought to break into just one more house.
This morning I attended Liturgy at Christ the Savior. It was recommended to me by yet another friend I’ve not yet met in person. God bless you, Facebook. I knew it was a small community and I knew the service would be in English. I was a little late in arriving. I was greeted warmly. I was wearing a skirt. Not because I had to but because I wanted to make a good first impression I guess. I wore my Dr Martens again to show that I was no pushover.
I stood near the back, like I do. I followed along well and then the choir began to sing “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us…” over and over, with the same tune followed by my Nashville church. And then I wept.
As I approached to venerate the cross at the end of the service, Father John asked my name and where I was from. I gave him my name and said that I was from Nashville. He asked, “Visiting?” I said, “No, just moved here.” He smiled and said, “I hope you’ll come back again. Please ask me if you have any questions.” I told him I hoped to come again and that I would definitely ask questions.
An Orthodox friend said yesterday that he hoped I’d find a church home soon and I told him that I thought perhaps it was more a matter of deciding to be home. I wept this morning because I missed the home I was making in Nashville and because I wanted desperately now to have this place be home.
Sometimes home is discovered and sometimes it is decided and sometimes if we are patient and willing, it is both.