I promised myself (and my five readers) I would be more disciplined with writing. I figured this week would be easier because the workload at the office wasn’t as bad and my stories were a bit more pleasant. But just like I always got better grades when I was playing sports, I am apparently not as good at this when I’m not as harried.
I was thinking this week about my first encounter with Orthodoxy, 12 years ago right about now. I remember wanting so badly to believe in something for real, and yet not being able to figure out how to believe in something I didn’t trust (protestantism). I was in Washington, D.C. for a journalism program through the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and the program director was about a month-old convert into the Orthodox Church.
I remember telling him on evening walks that I really wanted to give up. I couldn’t be Episcopalian because, well, they were just going to hell in a hand basket. I couldn’t be Catholic because I wasn’t down with that Pope thing. Something had to give, though, spiritually or I was probably going to have some serious mental health issues. So I figured I was just going to bag it and be this sad little Christian atheist (seriously). Terry said, “have you thought about Orthodoxy?”
I thought he meant Jewish and I was totally confused. He told me a little bit more about it and then we probably talked about newspapers and religion writing, our favorite things. I didn’t think much more about Orthodoxy for awhile, but I think it kind of germinated in my mind without my knowledge or attention.
Remember that episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where the crew of the Enterprise gets it in their head that the way to solve the problem of the Borg is to introduce some kind of mathematical equation into the collective that cannot be solved? Yeah? You don’t? OK, well there was this episode…
Orthodoxy was like that for me: this riddle I didn’t understand, a different answer to the question I was asking. My heart took it in, downloaded it if you will and let it run quietly in the background of my mind: a kind of “malware” that wasn’t malicious. It grew and grew until 2003 when I had nowhere else to go spiritually and realized the map home had been in my heart all this time.
Hey, tmatt, thanks for the walks and for pointing the way.