Monday, March 7, 2011

Cultivating Normal

As Peter mentioned briefly in his last post, we attended the Orthodoxy in the Home webinar last month.  As with any seminar, we heard many speakers talk about many subjects, and I wont be able to digest all we learned here in any sort of detail, certainly not to the extent which would truly do the conference justice.  I would like to expand on some ideas that we were confronted with during the webinar and how we will be working them into our Lent.
As we mentioned during the Nativity Fast, following the traditional Orthodox fasting regimen is unwise for us, and the monk who is walking us through our catecuminate has urged us not to.  Instead, in thinking about it, we will be concentrating on cultivating normal.
Over these past few months, we have been striving for survival.  Through moving, unemployment, having a second child, and moving again, our family rhythms have taken a real beating.  In many cases, they never existed to begin with.  Since we've embraced Orthodoxy and begun to settle here, we've realized that in many ways, our life is still chaotic and unplanned.  I often feel behind in everything from meals to laundry, not to mention prayer and bible study.
The webinar offered a few helpful tips that we will be implementing as we try to tame the chaos.  (Note that we will not attempt to be rid of it all together.  Not only would this be a useless endeavor, but life would be no fun at all.)
First, we're adjusting our approach to evening prayers.  As much as we would like to pray together for 20 minutes, singing hymns, reading from scripture and learning about the day's saint, we recognize that this is impossible to do with young children.  In fact, as we were reminded, it is better if we relax and enjoy the prayers we do say, even if it's only a quick Lord Have Mercy before the toddler rampages through our bedroom.  We are a new family, we're new to Orthodoxy, and our prayer time will develop as we do.
Secondly, I have adopted a new strategy when it comes to Liturgy.  We had been relegating our two-year-old (as of tomorrow) to the back/side of the sanctuary where she would be less in the way, able to run, color, read, play Ring-around-the-Rosy, etc.  While this worked fairly well for her, it meant that one or the other of us missed the majority of the service, catching tidbits of the homily, singing a bar now and again, but generally not participating.  While we still do that for the litanies, I've determined that it's not the best thing to do for the whole service, especially since there's often quite a bit going on.  So, for these last few weeks, we deposit our bags in the back but we sit right up front.  From the first row (which is always empty) she has a full view of the choir, the priest, the acolytes, the readers, and everything else.  She watches intently while I point out what's going on by the altar, she's learning some of the songs, and she doesn't start to lose interest until the end of the homily.  I enjoy interacting with her throughout the service, answering her questions, confirming her observations.
At home these days, we're taking wall paper down in the dining room, praying that the snow will end eventually, and looking forward (with trepidation) to our first lent.  We're rejoicing in God's provision for our needs, but not our wants just yet.  Overall, I'm appreciating more and more this season of our life and striving to keep that perspective.

No comments:

Post a Comment