Welcome Home


Even though there was rousing conversation, laughs, and serious talk tonight – I am at a loss for what to report or muse tonight. Thus, here’s an oldie from 2 years ago, right after I was chrismated an Orthodox Christian.

I have been quiet on the Orthodox and religion commentaries as of late. This is due to me realizing that my “feelings” and “musings” regarding Orthodoxy can only go so far. And since I am not called at this time to be a theologian, why should I bring on a debate for which I am drastically unprepared.

After my second cupcake wedding adventure [See Notes December 29, 30, and 31], I had 4 days to go before I entered the Orthodox Church through Chrismation. On cue, a week of social and emotional upheaval was sprung upon me. Some issues with a co-worker came to a climax, I was working long hours, my apartment was still a mess from the baking frenzy, and a friend suddenly lost her husband to a brain aneurysm.

Didn’t God know that I had a lifetime confession to prepare? Wasn’t this supposed to be a time where I could quiet myself and focus on deep spiritual matters?

Amidst my frenzy of thought and exhaustion, there was a nagging idea: home. I wasn’t going to be around any of my immediate or extended family for Christmas. I had wonderful plans made with the Barretts, Anna, and others in Bloomington. I had a place to celebrate Nativity. But where was that ultimate place of comfort? Where was my Home?

I have written about some of my thoughts regarding “home” before. The entire week before my Chrismation, I had this persistent question: ”If I clicked my ruby shoes together and said ‘there’s no place like home’ where would I end up?!?!” I was discouraged that I didn’t know the answer.

I’m not kidding – I had no idea where I would go.

Because my immediate family moved about every 5 years when I was growing up, I never associated “home” with a specific house. I’ve made enough of my own path since college that I would hesitate to consider Sioux City, IA; Hays, KS; or Wichita, KS. Though Bloomington is where I currently live, I sense that it is not where I will lay down permanent roots.

The week progressed. I made my haphazard confession. I resolved the conflicts with my co-worker. I grieved with my friends from afar.

Two hours before my Chrismation, I still needed a Patron Saint and a stand-in for my godmother. A quick call to my priest resolved those.

Then the services came. I became Orthodox. Lord have mercy.

While I wanted to exude more giddiness, I had to acknowledge that there had been some rough days leading up to Christmas, besides that, becoming Orthodox felt natural. Not some overly-emotional-run-out-of-the-church-in-my-bare-feet-yippee! impulse, but a thought-out-two-years-in-the-making-yes-this-is-the-path-God-led-me-to-and-wants-me-on decision. I still have questions about everything, yet there comes a point where I had to say that I didn’t get all of it, but I knew enough that I needed to take the next step and become Orthodox. I would hope that those of you who are married understand this: you don’t know your spouse completely, but you know enough that you will commit the rest of your life to being with that person and finding out and living through what you don’t know…with joy. At least, that’s what I’ve been told.

After the Chrismations, there was Matins, then the Liturgy. We Orthodox don’t do anything the short way.

In the hours and days following, people kept coming up to me and saying, “Welcome Home!”
“Thank you!” was all that I could stammer out as a response.

Welcome Home. Home? I have a home!

Does that mean that if I’m dropped in the boonies of the wilderness and all I have is prayer and my ruby sneakers, I could click my heels together and end up in the nearest Orthodox church?

I pray that drastic of a situation will never occur, but it was good to know that amidst the tumultuous events in life, I really do have a “Home.” A place where I can be myself. A place where I am to strive towards excellence in service and love others because Christ first loved me. A shelter, refuge, and training ground. A place where I can be confident that baring my weaknesses, faults, and sins is for the purpose of my restoration, forgiveness, and salvation.

Welcome Home. And if you please, wipe your feet and make yourself comfortable.

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