When Yeast Kills: The Group Dynamics of Despondency

A blessed Feast of the Ascension to all reading this in realtime! This weekend, I have the opportunity to speak at the 29th-Biennial National Assembly for the Ladies’ Philoptochos Organization in Canada. (For anyone who read that and thought “Philo-… what?,” the Philoptochos is basically the Greek Orthodox equivalent of a deaconness society or sisterhood; most parishes have…

Tracking Time, Day 1: Lessons in Life, Mortality, Stress, and Faith

Yesterday, I started doing something I’ve been putting off for a while: I started tracking my time. As in, recording how I spend my time for virtually every waking minute. (Scroll to the end of this post for a more practical explanation of how I did this.) You’re probably wondering why I would voluntarily torture myself like this.…

Why the World Has to End: Making Sense of the Apocalypse

  The apocalypse. Nowadays, it’s a term that serves as a shorthand for a movie-worthy, special-effects-laden vision of the end of the world as we know it. But apocalypticism is often a much deeper and more existentially fraught topic than it seems upon first glance. Going Back to the Apocalypse I wrote my MA thesis on currents of…

A Basket-less Resurrection: 4 Ways Pascha is Different for Greeks than other Orthodox

Christ is risen! Xristos Anesti! Christus ist auferstanden! A week or two before Holy Week, I mentioned to a friend that our Greek Orthodox parish (like most Greek parishes) doesn’t do blessed baskets at Pascha (1). I don’t think my priest would know what to do if–in the chaos of pre-Pascha preparations–I suddenly appeared on the solea with a basket full…

Holy Week: the best of times, the strangest of times

Dang it. I’d done it again. I vowed not to, I told myself I’d be smarter this year. But alas… it seems I’m doomed every Holy Monday evening to the same fate. Namely, the fate of slipping quietly into Church and opening my prayer book (smartphone app) to the Bridegroom Matins of Holy Monday. And not realizing until…

Looking Back on Lent: A Lesson at the Gym

The last few days of Lent are winding down, and it’s usually at this time I find myself looking back on the last 40-odd days and wondering where it all went. Often, regret tinges my memory of Great Lent–I never feel like I quite “Lented” enough. This year, though, I find myself with a different–I daresay even uplifting–perspective.…

Beyond Punctuality: Being on Time for the Right Time

In Germany, where I’ve lived several times, there is a well-known proverb that translates: “Five minutes ahead of time is exactly the right time.” One of my supervisors there once threatened to dock pay when I showed up on time for work one morning. For her, if I wasn’t ahead of time, I wasn’t on time. And I was setting myself on…

(Re)Reading Rilke on the Way to Lent

I am praying again, Awesome One. . . . It’s here in all the pieces of my shame that now I find myself again. I yearn to belong to something, to be contained in an all-embracing mind that sees me as a single thing. Rainer Maria Rilke   Last week, I realized something startling: it seems no one…

Despondency, Beauty, and Activism

Last week, my husband forwarded a video to me called Ακτιβισμός και ακηδία. My Greek is just good enough to understand the title–Activism and Acedia–but not good enough to understand much of the speaker’s point, and we have yet to sit down and watch it together. Nonetheless, it got me thinking about the intersection between this pernicious spiritual…