Saturday, July 3, 2010

Thoughts on Moving

Dear Parish Faithful,

As I mentioned yesterday following the Liturgy, presvytera Deborah and I successfully completed our move to Norwood on Saturday. Or rather, as I further said, we managed to move all of our belongings into the space of the four walls of our new home. In other words, it is going to be some time before our new house actually becomes our new home. We woke up on Sunday morning to the wonderful experience of walking to church for the first time in nearly thirty years. (When at seminary, we had an apartment about a ten minute walk from the chapel). It is a four and-a-half block walk that takes about ten minutes long. (More ambitiously, presvytera Deborah plans on walking to her work at XU, at least in tolerable weather). In one last repetition from yesterday, I cannot resist saying that I find the process of moving to be a thoroughly unenjoyable experience! After twenty one years in our former home - the only one we had known since coming to Cincinnati in 1989 - I almost forgot just how unenjoyable. If you saw me laboring over some heavy boxes and/or directing our movers, an involuntary question may have arisen within your mind: "What is wrong with this picture?" In the final analysis, I would simply say that somehow it is "not me."

We had our "moment" pulling out of the driveway of our old home for the last time Saturday evening. It was something like leaving - if not abandoning - an old friend that served us well as the place where we essentially raised our three children. Of course, there are also all the memories. When you further consider the aging process, those were possibly the "best years of our lives." I do not believe that this is mere sentimentality. The space we occupy and call our home becomes part of each of us in the process of the movement of time. That space becomes mysteriously integrated into our personal histories. Each home has its own "personality," because it reflects the personalities of its inhabitants. Our home is truly our "comfort zone." At the end of the Wizard of Oz, all Dorothy wanted to do was to "go home!" However, as with all things in our past, all of that is now irretrievable. That is why moving has been called "a little death." Or, as a slight variation of that states, as told to me yesterday in its French form by one of our parishioners: a part of you dies with every move. The move enhances your awareness of the fact - if only unconsciously - that a particular phase of your life is now gone. Perhaps that is the source of sadness when moving.

No reason to get too philosophical or dramatic, though. We simply moved within the confines of the same city - Finneytown to Norwood. No traumatic move to another city and parish. This was not a move we had to make, but one we chose to make. Presvytera and I are looking forward to being close to the church and our work. We have always wanted that experience of being physically close to the parish. Perhaps this move will create an even closer connection to the parish for me as the parish priest, as the actual space between my two "homes" is so significantly tightened, and as each home becomes the extension of the other. And I pray that God will further bless my ministry here at Christ the Savior/Holy Spirit. After all, I am not that old! I can still legitimately pray for "many (more) years" of pastoral service. Now, there is work to be done and the future to be anticipated. For the Christian, the "future" is always open to new possibilities, even as Christians are realistic in their assessment of the world around them. Together, we must proclaim the Gospel in an Orthodox manner as the fullness of Christian faith and life here in the greater Cincinnati area. And we always "press on forward" with the Kingdom of God as our ultimate goal and longed-for "home."

Presvytera Deborah and I thank you for your prayers and support. Hopefully we will "settled in" in the not-too-distant future.

In Christ,

Fr. Steven

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