I imagine that pride is not typically a problem which slaves have to wrestle with. In Fr. Jonah's talk about "Shame" he mentions that internalized shame is very closely related to the sin of pride...though they are the polar opposite, both are centered around an unhealthy attention being given to oneself. I digress, my point is this: slavery is key to my life right now. Allow me to explain.
I am not all that great of a father. Raising a kid is hard. Raising four kids is amazingly hard. Raising four kids all under the age of 6 requires a profound breach in the space-time continuum, and sometimes a dose of valium can be helpful as well. I have always known that I do not have the patience for kids, I am just too selfish and too lazy. I mean, really folks how many millions of itsy bitsy legos can one meticulously pick up off the floor after having them pierce the epidermis of your foot, how many green beans can you accidently step on and smash into your carpet, how many times can you fish grass trimmings or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches out of your VCR, how many more times will you find another prized book painted, torn, written upon or soaked in a mysterious liquid, how many times can you tell a child NOT to lay in the dog's bed, how often can you tell a child that Daddy's cell phone does not belong in the toilet with the "poopie", how many thousands of plans must be abandoned at the tyrannical whim of a three year old, and how many billions of times can you say "no", "stop that", "please don't", "I wish you wouldn't", "put that down", or "watch out its gonna spill" before you simply lose all patience and explode?
If I could, I would waste my life away reading, writing, drinking Guinness, and fishing for Salmon. Ahhh, the providence of God! Enter, from stage left, four kids.
Orthodoxy makes much ado about asceticism. As I have mentioned time and time before I realized that my wife and my kids are a major part of my asceticism...they are the embodied opportunity for me to deny myself. But, boy do I struggle! I lose my temper all too often and just want to escape to ....to what? Well to be by myself. To do what I want to do. To be "free!" Everything in our society screams out to us, telling us that THIS is what it is all about: choice and freedom to do what we want when we want it. In every aspect of our lives we live this modern moral imperative - even, sad to say, in our religious life. But this is not real freedom, this is not even real choice. It is enslavement to self. Real freedom is found in submission....strange paradox that it is.
I am a slave to my wife and to my children. And as I pound that viewpoint into my head - once a second or as needed - I find that the day to day "problems" enacted by my beloved children (numerous though they may be) aren't really as bad as they seem. And that my masters (tyrannical and unrelenting though they may seem) are in fact a joy, a gateway to real freedom, and a path to salvation. I'm the luckiest Bondservant in the world!
Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.
...offered by Dn. fdj, a sinner at 8:28 AM [+]