Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Road Goes Ever On

So there you have it. That's where I left off, apparently about a year ago now. A lot has happened since then. I attended Pentecost Divine Liturgy and Kneeling Vespers back at the first parish I'd visited. (I think that was a Father's Day treat that my wife allowed.) That summer, while we were at the beach with another couple, we all visited a small mission parish for Saturday Vespers, which was my wife's first Orthodox service of any type. It wasn't a great experience, since there were more of us than there were Orthodox people. I've managed to get her to two other services since, but her impression hasn't changed much. Over the past year, I've tried to catch special services. I've also met with Fr. Gregory--the priest from that parish I visited on Good Friday last year--perhaps every couple of months. Each time we've met has provided another opportunity to visit a service.

I met a guy at work who's Russian-American and attends a ROCOR parish. I've managed to visit there once, and a smaller ROCOR parish that's closer to where I live on a few occasions. They had an open house several months ago, so I went to that and stayed for Vigil afterward. I went back there during Lent this year while my wife was out of town and met with Fr. George. I'm torn between the two--good people and good priests at both, each with its unique characteristics. But thinking about my wife tends to push the balance away from the ROCOR parish. It's quite small, which she generally doesn't like in any church, the services are longer, and if I could get her to meet with a priest, I think she'd probably butt heads with Fr. George. For now, though, I like the fact that I can often catch a holiday service by picking from two options, with one parish on the Orthodox calendar and the other on the Western.

I've done a lot of reading, a lot of praying, got to know some good Orthodox people, and I now have no doubt that I would convert as soon as my family situation allowed it. I've asked both priests about converting on my own, and they're pretty reluctant. So I press on. I've talked to quite a few Evangelical friends about it. There was the couple we vacationed with last summer, two different small groups at church--one last year, and one this year--one-on-one conversations with two or three good friends, and another scheduled for this Friday. I've brought one friend to a regular service, and three other friends came with me to the Pascha service this year. In general, our conversations are positive. They might have some personal reservations, but for the most part they don't have much objection to my interest. I'm starting to feel more comfortable about bringing it up in various circles. Just this week, I bought a few icons for my station at work.

One way or another, I still have a long road before me. But I'm encouraged by the way it has gone so far, and I look forward with hope that Christ will lead me exactly where he wants me.

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