So, imagine me packing furiously for this beautiful opportunity to speak at the (first ever) Ancient Faith Women’s Retreat when what does my friend, Melinda Johnson, who I like an awful lot, send me?
I mean I know I wrote it. It took three years and a lot of puzzling over the first volume of the Philokalia, but to see even a photo of a stack of the book is staggering! But now I am now holding a copy in my hot little hands. It smells nice. Feels good to the touch. It’s hefty, this one! I’d forgotten what I’d even written until I open to a page that happens to have been written on September 11th, my name day.
But improbable details are often included in a story because of the deeper truth they signify. Thus, the intellect in each of us resides within like a king, while the reason acts as doorkeeper of the senses.
St. Neilos the Ascetic, “Ascetic Discourse” pg. 210
The feast of my patron saint is September 11th. I was welcomed into the Orthodox faith only a few days from this one several years ago. The date already carries a heaviness because of the events on this day in the United States in 2001. There is a significance to the date then, historical and heart-related too.
My patron saint, Theodora of Vasta, is said to have laid down her life to fight for the safety of the people in her village. The story we tell is that she her dying words were, “Let my body become a church, my hair a forest of trees, and my blood a spring to water them.” On that spot where she is said to have died, a church was built. Trees grew around and through the walls of the building, making it an architectural miracle. An underground spring was found later, explaining how the roots of the trees were fed. It’s considered miraculous, even by architects’ and engineers’ standards.
We build, and we hope.
Even in the face of fear, God tells us it’s safe, to build and to hope.
But, hey, you know what? The Wilderness Journal book is not the only thing that hit this week. I’ve been working on a film with Bright Wing Media over the last few months for the Orthodox Fellowship of the Transfiguration about beauty and creation care called The Face of God. This week is the week I start going from friend to friend telling them all about the film we’ve been shooting, the people we’ve been interviewing, the incredibly cute cat I met in Santa Rosa, California named, “Waffles.” (He really liked our cameraman, Louis!)
And I’m doing all this because
1. I’m really proud of the project
2. We need to raise money to finish it.
So listen, here’s the thing. Take a look at the website and at the fundraising campaign, and if that’s your bag and you want to share it and talk about it and just overall, give it some love. That’s awesome. If not, that’s okay too. I still love you. I really do because you know what?
Life’s just too short to not love people.