Having successfully secured a sponsor into the Orthodox faith I had planned to meet with Fr J. next to figure out if I’m ready for Chrismation. I feel ready. I feel I’ve been ready for a long time. I would have entered in the first month after beginning Orthodoxy 101 classes if all things had fallen into place like dominos. Sadly, the meticulous process of setting up the dominos to fall was mine to do. That’s taken some time.
When I began this journey I was not entirely sure I would be able to handle bringing my children into Orthodoxy. I think I know why I waited as long as I had. I think it was less about being sure of my own conversion and more about finding just the right way to introduce a structure to them. I’m reminded of movies with the “jungle man” theme in which the modern folks try to introduce Tarzan to the modern world. He ends up screaming like an ape and swinging from the chandeliers.
I put it off for a year and I looked for churches without chandeliers.
I suppose the initial plan was that I’d go first and test the water then over time I’d make friends in Chicago and find people to walk alongside as their godparents within that community. It seemed like a good plan.
But then Father J. suggested that we wait and be welcomed together as a family. I rejected this idea. I’ve been waiting 18 months now. I have places to go and people to see. I want my membership badge.
Still, it stuck to me. I drove around for over a week trying to make a decision. I had this plan. I was ready. I began to scheme to get my foot in the door. Maybe I’d be chrismated at my Nashville church while I was visiting. Maybe I’d try to get things moving right away. Maybe this. Maybe that. And then this voice in my ear came close again, whispering with no urgency, only authority.
And then I realized how lonely I was, how desperate, once again, to belong and I saw some things clearly. There is no urgency here and I’ll never really be ready. I’ll always be a work in progress. Being chrismated will not confer on my a magic charm that will infuse me with all the right answers and the right movements and the right explanations for my children.
So we’ll wait and I’ll get to know some people despite my social anxiety issues and my fear of never belonging. I’ll wait and God will sit with me in the waiting and He’ll listen to my whining and my cussing and my crying in the night, when everything is quiet, when the world is sleeping, when I feel that waiting is my enemy. He’ll wait and He’ll whisper close to my ear, the way He does.