Well, in addition to graduating, getting a much cooler and better-paying job, and spending a ton of time in beautiful Iowa, I have some other news...
I'm now officially a catechumen of the Antiochian Orthodox Church! (so basically, I'm going to be an official Orthodox Christian in a few months)
Lots of life changes happening right now, but I figure this one I can really sink my teeth into. Any of you who know me and have followed my journey into Orthodoxy know most of the story already, but I'll give a short run-down here as an introduction to what will undoubtedly be many more posts regarding this highly exciting development.
In March of 2008, my friend Mark was a catechumen at what has now been my church for two years, and he got a bunch of my friends and I interested in visiting it. I went to All Saints' for the first time on Sunday March 31st, which was the Elevation of the Cross, and it was overwhelming and confusing and more beautiful than anything I had seen in my life. I was profoundly excited by the whole thing, and very curious, so I just kept going...and going...and going. I kept going through periods of trial, joy, doubt, and celebration, and I can say that I am as ready as I'll ever be to join the church.
My entire time at All Saints' has been punctuated by periods of intense desire for unification with the church alternating with periods of intense doubt. In the beginning, it was little things like what Father Pat calls "the Mary question", praying in front of icons, church history inquiries, and my parents' discomfort. As time went on, I began struggling with questions of politics, of what churches other than All Saints' would be like since I'd have to leave eventually, and what if I couldn't find a nice Orthodox man to marry? Was I ready to be Orthodox? Would I ever be capable of making such a commitment?
Thankfully, the Holy Spirit has ways of allaying fears at the appropriate time and in a way that only makes sense to God. From the outside looking in, one might say that I'm crazy. Only two months ago, I had decided that when I left North Park I would find another church and pretend to have moved away because I didn't think I could endure the politics and the obvious lack of intentional community (thinking specifically of Reba), but since then a word from a friend or a side comment made by a trusted advisor have served as the Spirit's instruments of reconciliation between my life and the life of the Orthodox Church.
My eyes are wet with happy, longing tears as I imagine the day in the near future in which I will participate in Holy Communion for the first time and will receive the Holy Chrism and the gifts of the Spirit and become part of the living faith of the church once and for all. I entreat you all to pray for me as I go through this process, and I will request more specific prayers as things come up and as the as-yet-unknown day approaches.
Peace in Christ