Friday, August 16, 2013

And then there were ten...

Sometimes I go to church and want to cry. Yes, cry for my little church. It's a wonderful place, and I feel like it's slowly dying.

Today (August 15th, that is, this post is being written close to the midnight hour) is the Feast of the Dormition, or Assumption, for you Romans. Every holy day, I approach church with a bit of fear and sadness...hoping that I'll be wrong, that there will be more people, and then sadly realizing that I was right. No one comes.

We only had ten people at Divine Liturgy this evening. Yes, ten. 10.

The priest
The boy altar server
Boy's father and one of his sisters
The cantor
90 year old woman who still drives herself, God Bless her
A couple in their 70s
A recently widowed 70 something man

Oh yeah, and me. *waves* Chris was working until 7, which was the exact same time that DL started. There is no way he would make it, but Father excused him on Sunday.

I raced up to the city where our church is after I got out of work at 6. A patron had a question for me as I was trying to leave, so I didn't get into the car until 6:10. I made it to [city] with minutes to spare. I brought flowers from our garden for our Theotokos. No one else did. (Yes, they sat in my car all day. I cracked the windows, made sure they had plenty of water, and parked in the shade. It was a beautiful day and not too hot, which helped. They did well, see?)

I now have a smart phone. With a camera.

I also channeled Priest's Wife--last night, I assembled our dinner in the crock pot, and got that going before I left the house this morning, before 8:30. I cooked extra rice and steamed vegetables last night so that we didn't have to worry about those tonight. Just heat up a plate, and add the crock pot chicken on top.

I didn't get home until well after 9 pm, thanks to the state of CT deciding to do all road improvements during the summer at night. The usual 40 minute ride home from church took another 20 minutes. I had a very full day and I still managed to "do it all" or do most of it all ;-)

I don't understand why me, the one who grew up Roman, who lives ~45 minutes away and worked 9 hours before driving to DL, still made it to church, by herself, and so many other people can't or won't. That's why I feel like crying, that I put in so much and get so little out of it. And yes, I know it's not about me. It's about God and all of that. And I feel like I'm good with that stuff. But if our church dies, because of low numbers, then that's not going to help anyone's relationship with God, and how we serve Him as we worship. Indirectly, it's a mutually beneficial relationship.

Also making me sad: the lack of community aspect in our parish. That the only other young people (around our ages) do not engage with Chris or me. I have a few theories as to why, and I hesitate to say what they are at the risk of being called paranoid. Chris and I go back and forth about this: he thinks that a parish shouldn't be for socialization, but as a woman, I think my viewpoint is skewed because most women crave community, belonging, fellowship, sisterhood, whatever you want to call it. It shouldn't be wrong to want that from where you worship, from the place/events that shape your life. In a perfect world, I'd have a church community not so far away from my home, that I might run into people from church at the grocery store, at the library, at the garden center...and get to know them a little better, more organically than a few minutes as we're walking out of the church door to our cars each week.


Speaking of Priest's Wife, she is looking for suggestions on how our little Eastern Catholic parishes can survive and thrive. If you have something to add, she's all ears. (Or would it be eyes since this is print?)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


(Yes, this is a link-up-free post!)

This is becoming a theme with me. I don't blog for months, then come back and write a post about how I've been so busy and how I have all of these ideas for blogging, but I don't commit them to "screen."

I'm not that busy. At least I don't think so, when I look back at how busy I've been in the past and all I've managed to accomplish during those times.

My life right now:
  • part-time job, with a short drive
  • one graduate-level class
  • applying to master's program
  • house stuff
  • the gym and other appointments 
  • being mentally and physically present for my husband
My life in the past:
  • full-time job (and then some) with a long commute
  • occasionally took some graduate-level classes
  • house stuff
  • other appointments
What's different? Besides the "applying to master's program," that is.

Oh yeah, taking care of myself (gym) and being mentally and physically present for my husband. Not that Chris is disabled or in need of serious help, but when you're married you're supposed to be there for your spouse. Support them, help them with things that they need, talk to them, you know, those sorts of things. In the past, I was so "busy" with everything else, I didn't take care of myself and I wasn't "there" for my husband. Yes, I was home at night and on the weekends, but I was so absorbed with...nothing.

My old job made me so distracted and irritable that I wasn't a good wife. I wasn't a good person. I put things off--both with relationships and tasks--that when they'd pile up, I'd flip out and get even more irritable.

So while I'm not as busy in a traditional sense, my life has become a different kind of busy. That is okay. It works for us, and it's drastically improved conditions in our home. Do we miss the second income (and it was a lot more than Chris has ever made)? Yes, especially as Chris' current job will be ending soon. Do we miss the old Jen? NO. No one does. Even people who don't know me that well have commented on how I've changed.

I do plan on writing more on this topic. One potential post that's rolling around in my head is: how losing my job saved my marriage. That post might come in a few days, or a few months. Or maybe never, since I sort of touched upon it here. Right now, I've got to go prep my husband's clothes for his interview this afternoon. I don't do this because I "have" to, or because it's my "duty," I do it because I want to help him, and I'm off from work today. If I was at work, he'd be on his own, and that's OK. Besides, while I've struggled through my summer class, Chris has pulled me away from house chores and told me to go finish my reading. He's made me dinner and reminded me to eat while I've been in the midst of writing short papers, stressing about doing it wrong. No one told him he needed to pitch in with chores or feed me. He did it because he wanted to. He knows that me furthering my education is an investment in our FAMILY's future. Just like me helping him prep for an interview is also an investment in our FAMILY's future.

Now, to my readers: I hope everyone is having a great summer! With Google Reader's demise, it's been hard to keep up with your blogs, but I do think about you all and hope all is well. :)