It never fails, really. The moment I step into Divine Liturgy I am flooded with ideas; things to write, things to ponder, things to clean, things to buy. Some are good ideas. Some are so good it’s almost physically painful for me to stop myself grabbing my phone to make a note or scribbling a word, thought, phrase on a napkin in my purse. At some point in my life I have a feeling I will choose to do this but for now, just now, it feels important to stay present. Staying present is already stretch in any case, having to navigate the perpetual motion of my children during Liturgy.
I admit now that we’ve been attending with some regularity for the last year or so, the kids and I have settled into the services somewhat. I’m not sure my fellow church goers would agree but I’m glad to say that we truly have begun to find our rhythm.
When we began, the kids had little to no experience with a full on structured church setting and I afforded them some grace. I afforded myself very little of that grace and found myself slinking out early to avoid any confrontation or criticism. We were in the water, shipwreck victims floating and bobbing along. The ship had been the community we left, the friends who didn’t understand my move toward Orthodoxy, the evangelical church I could never fully embrace. I watched as that previous vessel sank before me, sometimes lurching forward, sometimes heaving and groaning, we were lost.
Our first year of attending Liturgy, at least, found us in a lifeboat, still at sea, still waiting and trying not to shift too much for fear of capsizing. With my children I was hawkish and shrill. I pestered and nagged on the way to Liturgy each week and I cried on the way home. I was stiff and cold and afraid.
I saw a vision of myself, though, early in my journey to becoming Orthodox. It was this brief glimpse that kept me showing up each week. In the vision I am calm, breathing deep, eyes closed and listening. In my vision, no matter what happens at sea, I visualize myself anchored at port, the shore in sight, the wind’s shifted, the tide’s come in.