A Cure for Despondency: Addressing Despondency and Inter-Generational Tension in the Church

This past weekend, I was blessed to have the opportunity to speak at the biennial national assembly of the Ladies Philoptochos Association of Canada, a department of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto (Canada) that assists the Church with philanthropy and service. I was asked to speak about despondency (acedia), one of the primary spiritual passions, and how…

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…

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…

Announcing my book: Time and Despondency!

So, this came in the mail last week. I guess that means it’s official… I’m writing a book! Actually, to be more specific, I’ve been writing a book–my deadline is now only a month and a half away. (Because all good things take TIME–including the logistics of hammering out book contracts–I haven’t been able to let the cat out…

The love of God and the calendar of shame

Happy (belated) New Year from Time Eternal! There are few times of the year that carry more collective hope and shame than the beginning of January. On the one hand, hope. That magnitude of stepping into a fresh, brand-new year summons within us a surge of new hopes and expectations. Like clockwork, we find ourselves inspired to be(come)…

A blessed Advent! From my perfectionism to yours…

The Advent and Christmas seasons are a perfectionist’s nightmare. At no time of year do the “shoulds,” “oughts,” and “pinterests” blare more loudly in our minds than December.  As soon as you get the old holiday ornaments out of storage, the shiny new ones gleam and scream from the store shelves: Buy me! You need me to have…