An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
We converts worship the ground that monks and nuns walk on - sometimes to the point that we think our lives ought to look exactly like theirs. True to some extent I suppose, but I find that when I decided to be a hermit (whether in my prayer corner or in front of the computer) my kids really do not like it all that much. Or when I insist on complete silence during our meals except for my oldest daughter reading the philokalia, the meal usually breaks down into chaos and disgruntledness. The one time I became a stylite for a month my kids laughed and pointed fingers, inviting the neighbors to come watch. I generally try and say the Jesus Prayer while changing diapers, but find that my gagging frequently interupts the complex breathing patterns needed to obtain a vision of the uncreated light. The idea of doing the midnight office with all the kids collapsed into utter disaster when my wife faced restless children the next day and I faced (with sleepy eyes) dangerous viruses in the lab. How do those monks do it!
Ok, ok, enough. All this to say that last night I told some friends that I think I could be a monk easier than I could be a father. Half seriously. I believe that to be a good father, that I have to sacrifice as much as the monastics do: we have to sacrifice self. Well, I don't do a very good job of it...but I am trying.
The monks say their thousands of Jesus Prayers, while I will try and maintain a smile while I laboriously and continuously pick up thousands of disgarded sticky and ant-ridden Otter Pop wrappers.
Maybe the monks should consider a pilgrimage to my house? Salvation happens here (I hope) as much as it happens in the monastary, no? If not...what are we doing here at home?
(Off camera: "Honey, please don't buy any Otter Pops at Costco today!")
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