Tuesday, August 24, 2010

funny how it happens...

...that even doors you thought had closed would be opened again.  I've prayed and prayed for months for doors to be closed.  When people asked how they could pray for me I would say, "Oh, please just pray that some options will disappear.  Ask God to close those doors and shut the windows!"


Here I am, thinking that I know something about the way God works--as if it ever happens that way.  I mean, really!  I thought when my life became one big bowl of YES and I was overwhelmed with choice and no obvious option plopped in front of me, that I could predict what God was going to do based on my previous experience.  To a certain extent, that is true(ish): I can comfortably say that I believe that God will not let me fall on my face unless it is to my eventual benefit to fall on my face.  So, I expected to be left in a vortex of anxiety for awhile while I learned to trust God more (even though I know it's good for me, I still don't trust very well when I do fall on my face) and that at some point some of the doors would close, the chilly fall air would force someone to shut the windows, and we'd all bundle up in slippers and hand-crocheted afghans given to us by our grandmothers, and all would be right with the world.

All that is to say, I was entirely wrong.  Did doors close?  Yes!  The one I had expected to be WIDE OPEN at the beginning of the summer closed while I was in Alaska.  And yet, instead of keeping that door closed and closing a ton of others, ever guiding me to my next destination, the SAME DOOR was the one I ended up staring out of.  I performed a figurative turn-about and there it was---wide open, but with a slightly different path on the other side.

I had planned to go to Reba as an apprentice.  That didn't work out (see somewhere below).  Then I planned not to go to Reba, despite several attempts on the part of others to get me there.  Then, I figured I might as well check out this housing opportunity that was made known to me, and I was rather slow getting on that.  THEN, it worked out.  I didn't realize until I had left the house where I will be moving next week that I ended up at Reba anyway, after all of that worry.  I'll be with friends and people who love me, in a neighborhood I can walk around in, and near the lake and coffee shops and plenty of work opportunities and grocery stores (there aren't many grocery stores on the west side).

Needless to say, this door re-opening has thrown a stone in my gears.  I was all gung-ho for Alaska, and now I'm not so sure.  I'm still open to the idea, given certain circumstances falling into place, but I am also far more comfortable sticking around than I was a month or two ago.  Sigh...more to follow, I'm sure.

it's official

Finally...and so soon?  I'm going to be chrismated on September 19th!  I'm very excited and very nervous, and it all happened so fast that my head is spinning.  I've known for about a week now and I feel no more prepared now than I did a week ago.  It's pretty wild.

I think that my saint is going to be Martha, sister of Lazarus.  She's one of those characters in the Bible who's looked down on because the only story people remember about her is that she was the one harpin' on her sister Mary for listening to Jesus, and then Jesus says "yo, Martha, chill out.  You should be listening to me, too, not freaking out about the cooking and whatnot."  So everyone thinks less of Martha.  She's a lot like Thomas in that way.  However, Martha was the first to receive the news of the Resurrection when she was on the road to Bethany with Jesus and he was planning to raise Lazarus from the dead and prophesied about his own imminent death and resurrection.  Anyway, Martha's awesome.

Whew!  It's going to be great!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ravelry: horizonaffair's Queue

Ravelry: horizonaffair's Queue

Well, thanks a lot, new house mum. The mom at my current residence introduced me to the joys of pattern-searching on Ravelry yesterday and now I have yet another online addiction. Of course, I can't really blame her as I do have my own will and control over my actions...but it's more fun this way! ;-)

I'm actually quite excited about it as now I'm much more motivated to get going on some of these projects, which means that I might be taking a trip out to my parents' to pick up some of my yarn. So, let's say a suitcase' worth? And I'll have to pick up my pillow and CDs while I'm there because I was silly enough to leave them in Colorado. Drat!

Monday, August 9, 2010

many new families

I have officially moved to the west side of Chicago to stay with a family from church for at least the month of August.  They've been unbelievably hospitable, making lunches for me to take to work and finding this great bed and IKEA that folds up into a chair during the day.  There have been days already in which I have folded up my bed, decided later to take a small nap, and have been found curled up on the remaining chair.  It's been fun integrating myself into the chaos and adding a bit of my own.

Soon enough, the Orthodox Church will become my newest family, and while I don't know the exact date yet, I've heard that there will be several baptisms in mid-September, and as Fr. Pat generally likes to clump chrismations and baptisms together, there's a good chance I'll be chrismated on that day as well.  However, we have yet to officially discuss specific dates and whatnot...

Friday, July 23, 2010

changes, changes, changes

Well, I know for sure that God is trying to teach me something and lead me down a certain path.  Jeesh!

The apprenticeship at Reba Place is most definitely out of the question now.  In the end, they gave me a choice: remain a catechumen at All Saints', or come to Reba as an apprentice.  In my mind, this was no choice at all--obviously, I'm going to continue my catechumenate.  I have waited a long time to become a part of this church and I am not going to give that up so that I can be a part of a program that has changed significantly such that I am no longer interested anyhow.

So, one door is closed.  The remaining doors, however, are a whole mess of crazy:
1) Stay in Chicago?
2) Continue with doula training?
3) Prepare to go to grad school next fall?
4) Move to Alaska?
5) Find a "real job" and plan on sticking around for awhile?
6) Get my act together and rent a place?
7) A surprise?

I'm trying to stay positive about the fact that my world is so wide at the moment.  The world is my oyster!  How many opportunities like this does a person receive in her lifetime?  I'm young, single, and currently free of any long-term responsibilities to a place.  What reason have I to remain?

It would be nice if I could close the Chicago door so easily: nothing for me here, so once I'm chrismated I can go!  But it's not that easy.  My previously shaky relationship with my friends has taken yet another turn for the better, and my newest and probably potentially someday best friend is returning in a month to go back to school.  My church is here.  My family is here.  I can more easily find a job in Chicago than most places, and I do have a lot of opportunities for learning in a city full of schools, programs, institutes, and millions of people...

But, there are many reasons to go as well.  As I mentioned before, I am young and can get away with doing unpredictable, strange things much more easily now than ten or even five years from now.  I don't have a boyfriend, a family, or an apartment, much less a house.  I don't have a contract job and don't plan on having one any time soon, so whatever work I do, I can just skip town whenever and someone will be glad to take my job once I'm gone.  The only place I would skip town to has a church that could use me, which, while being sort of scary, is also a fun challenge for a newly-minted Orthodox.

Much prayer is needed, for sure.  On the praise side of the equation, I have several housing offers to consider, so I won't be homeless in ten days--praise the LORD!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

community status update: Reba

My interview was two days ago, so it's still a bit difficult for me to accurately assess the situation, but I'll try to highlight the important points now.

1. All of the apprentices are going to be in Roger's Park this year.  This means several things: the life of the church there is far more intimately tied to the community than is the case in Evanston, the ministry is vastly different, and I was not expecting this at all.  In the past, interns were only in Evanston, then later started being distributed between Evanston and Roger's Park.
2. The reasons that I wanted to be a part of their community and the reasons they think that interns want to be part of their community are quite different, so it makes sense that more apprentices would be interested in Roger's Park than Evanston.  I, however, am not one of those interns.
3. I will not be doing the apprenticeship, so I need to find housing and a job outside of it, and I have to tell them.  It's probably going to be a little awkward, but it must be done.  My instinct is to simply run away from the situation, but that's not mature or helpful and I'll just be kicking myself later.  I need to take care of this.
4. I'm leaving for Alaska in twelve days and thus have very little time to find a place and figure things out if I want somewhere to live in August.  If I wait to find something available for September, then I'd have a bit more time.
5. This whole thing is rather disappointing, so I'll stop writing about it now before I really start whining!  Everything is going to be okay, and I trust that God has some sort of plan in mind that prevents me from being able to go to Reba in this way.

Please pray for me.

Monday, June 14, 2010

bridal shower

I have a tendency to avoid potentially awkward situations, especially situations where I don't really know everyone.  I'm working on that, so in the spirit of branching out and NOT becoming my mother, I decided to go to the bridal shower that the women of All Saints' had yesterday for our beloved Claire.

I'm so glad I went.  I had the wonderful opportunity to hang out with a bunch of women from the church whom I have not yet gotten to know, and I think I made a few friends.  In addition, I was able to reconnect with some gals that I hadn't talked to in awhile, and I feel more a part of the church now than I have before.

The best part happened when I was leaving.  I was saying good-bye to Grace, one of our beloved elder women, and telling her how lovely it was to have sat next to her at the table.  She and I joked for awhile after that, and then she turned to me and said, "You know, Heather, I'm really glad you're a catechumen."
"Thanks!  Me, too."
Then she said, "It's like we're gettin' a new sister or something."
I replied, "That's exactly how I feel!  It's like I get to be part of this big family."
"Well, that's definitely how the Orthodox feel."

It was just so comforting.  I've expressed to several parishioners my terror at having decided to become a catechumen, and they've reassured me that that is quite normal and won't go away for a few years at least.  But Grace telling me all of that gave me such a peace about it, and now there is no question in my mind that this is where I need to be.  Now I have tons of new aunts, cousins, sisters, and brothers and uncles, too.  What a beautiful thing.