This past month has been a rough for me (Felicity) - mentally, emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually. Probably in other ways too.
Five weeks ago our second daughter was born. This alone would account for stress in all the aforementioned areas, but we also moved across the country, Peter started a new job, I spent two weeks with my parents in Ohio, and my sister got married. Just writing that all out is exhausting. Honestly, I don't know how we managed to do all of that without completely losing our heads (or, maybe that's the only way we were able to do it); but we did it, and now we can breathe again.
I've been taking a lot of deep breaths since we arrived here. At our first Sunday at the monastery, I walked into the chapel and spent a long time just breathing it all in. We were early (one of those Protestant habits that's proving hard to break), and the room was still dark. Old incense lingered in the air; icons glinted and winked in the sun light peeping through skylights and windows. The room was sleepy and peaceful. For me, it was like finding the surface after too many somersaults in the pool. I hadn't realized how close to drowning I was until I went to venerate the icons. Standing in front of the Theotokos, I felt my soul gasp for air as the stress of the birth, the wedding and the move begin to melt away. I nearly wept, and probably will one of these days as we continue to settle in. Even now, after another Sunday and a week of our new normal in between, I still feel short of breath. Like we aren't really here that long, so I should get as much in as I can while I can. I guess that's what uncertainty does to you, after a while you can't believe in things like routine and normal.
Yet, I feel it's important to relay that in the midst of the jumble, I haven't completely lost it. I have been able to find my center, to be relatively calm, and to take care of the things (and people) who needed taking care of. Also, I'm grateful that, in some strange way, we were prepared to deal with all of this. It's like we passed the test. Our marriage, our family, our faith are all intact - safe on this side of the madness and stronger than they were. We were asked to step out, repeatedly, into the unknown, and we did. I can only hope that we can continue to be faithful, even as we relax in this new home.