Sunday Gratitude 5.III.2023

As a church, we’ve moved into Lent. Lent is a big deal to the Orthodox; Pascha (Easter) is definitely the biggest celebration of the year. For us, Lent begins on a Monday (no Fat Tuesday for us!) and begins a period where there is a lot more services, and even if you don’t understand a word of what is being sung, the music goes into minor tones, making the feeling more mournful. In daily practice, each one of us is supposed to be attending more services, but also taking more time to pray and to give alms, etc. Then there is fasting. The general Orthodox practice of fasting is no meat, no dairy, no olive oil from Forgiveness Sunday until Pascha, and less of everything in general. Mind you, not everyone can do this, and it frustrates me a lot how much attention eating gets during Lent.

The last day before Lent starts is called Forgiveness Sunday. During Vespers (sometimes done directly after a regular Sunday Liturgy, each person in the parish will ask forgiveness of every other person there, and also forgive all who ask. It’s a beautiful and moving service, but I think it’s something that often gets more difficult with time. Unfortunately, I didn’t go this year, but hopefully by next year, things won’t be so insane.

In the Orthodox Church, as we move into Lent (which started today), the Sunday preceding is called Forgiveness Sunday. Generally, there is a Vespers service, and then all who are there go around and ask forgiveness of the others. I didn’t go this year, and I haven’t been for a couple of years. On one hand, I feel guilty for that, on the other, this year’s craziness seems to have made so many normal things difficult to impossible.

It’s been a wild couple of weeks. The kids didn’t have President’s Day off because the teachers at their school do a teacher training with other schools in the same week. As a result, instead of having Monday scheduled off, they had Friday. School was called off Wednesday for winter weather (wintry mix plus wind plus the promise of it all freezing) and then Thursday got called off as the whole world was covered in ice (including encasing the car) and all this ice brought down trees, which in turn knocked out our power for a little over 10 hours. And then they had Friday off. Basically a 5-day-weekend. I can’t say that I was necessarily sad about it. I’m just tired.

I am grateful that some of the things that have been broken around here have been taken care of, and I’m grateful for the means to have done so. We’ve got a new stove and a new disposal, and that should help alleviate the issues that the dishwasher was having. There’s a piece in one of the toilets that has been replaced, and now that is working without howling or taking half an hour to refill.

I am grateful for good neighbors.

I am grateful for having something to look forward to, a little break from the daily grind.

I am thankful for finding Rod Dreher’s writings, not just in the abstract right now, but that at the moment, he’s giving voice to something that I cannot write about, at least not yet.

I’m thankful that nobody was so sick enough to stay home from school this past week.

I am grateful for the kids’ principal, who stands outside and greets everyone coming in with a smile. It’s a little thing, but something that means a lot at the same time.

I am grateful for the beginnings of spring and for things to look forward to. Even the mourning doves are back, and they’re poking around the nest, getting it ready for the next set of eggs.

The last couple of days have been extremely difficult. There hasn’t been anything especially bad, but extreme exhaustion plus an enormous amount of stuff to get done, plus little bits of friction here and there. It feels like “death by a thousand cuts” at the moment.

And yet… there’s always reason to hold on, and reasons to laugh!

As always, I am grateful for each one of you reading, and for your prayers.

dore canto 31 white rose

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