Do Not Resent, Do Not React, Keep Inner Stillness

I forget where I found this, but this is a link to a word from Metropolitan Jonah addressing the right way to deal with anger and resentment. This seems to be from his time as an Abbot (I am sure his former monks miss him greatly) and is well worth the time to download and read it.

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Old men sending young men to war…

When did my nephew grow up? When did the string-bean of a child become heads and shoulders tall over his sister (who towers over me, her ancient aunt). He looked like a soldier when they swore him into the Army. Sometime later, after boot camp, he was 35 pounds lighter and looked MUCH closer to a boy than when he went in.

For some reason I can’t forget a line I read someplace about old men sending young men to war, and unless something happens, he will be headed to either Iraq or Afghanistan someime in 2009.

I think that I’ve posted about this before, and please don’t get me wrong, I am proud of him. He has no idea what he has gotten himself into, but things will now happen as they will. He just looks too young, dressed in all of that military garb, to be anything other than a boy playing at being a soldier. May he, and all of the members of his unit, return home safely. Of course anything can happen between now and next spring/early summer.

Se, we should all pray for all of the sons and brothers that are in the military, and hope for a time when the old men, everywhere, will stop sending the young men to war. Probably not much hope of that in this life, but it is a hope and a prayer.

Metropolitan Jonah and the All American Council

I suspect that this post isn’t really necessary, as this links are available so many places. However, in case for some reason you’ve missed this, then you can check out all of the recordings from the All American Council.

While my opinion doesn’t much matter, I was very, very pleased to learn the result of the election – Metropolitan Jonah is indeed the right man for the time – may God strenghten him for the long and hard road before him.

Personality Type

I am always fascinated by these things, and this is the one test that I’ve paid attention to over the years. I seem to swing between the INFJ and the ISFJ over the years – apparently these days I am in the ISFJ “court” – nickname of “The Defender, Protector” Cool! If you ever actually SAW me, the association of such terms for me would be most funny, but there you go.

I always rate way high in the Introverted/Judging categories, much closer to the middle for Sensing/Intuitive and Thinking/Feeling. Of course “Judging” doesn’t mean being judgmental, it means that I like closure – I hate to leave things open ended (let’s go ahead and make our minds up on what to do, ok?); Feeling doesn’t mean I don’t use my brain 🙂

Why does this test matter? Let’s face it, most of these things are for fun, and quite often are taken far too seriously. or take themselves far too much so. To me it brings home that different people do, indeed, think and process things differently. The Myers-Briggs, and the related “temperament sorters” such as this one, seems to do a good job at pointing that out.

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Il Trovatore, Verdi and passions

Last night I did something that I’ve never done before – I went to the opera. I don’t know quite what I expected, and it was great, but I found myself pondering a few things as the story progressed.

First of all the production was well done, very substantial sets, world-class singers, and my friends got us good “cheap” seats. First of all, a summary of Verdi’s plot:

A gypsy woman is caught giving the evil eye over the crib of one of the sons of a Count. She is summarily burned at the stake when the infant becomes sick and they decide she has bewitched him. Her daughter is a witness to her death, and in retaliation she kidnaps the child and intends in throwing him into the same fire that burned her mother. She takes the child, but in the passion of the moment she tosses her own infant to the flames! So she raises the Count’s son as her own, and when the bones are discovered the obvious conclusion is reached, though the Count is never sure that the bones were of HIS child.

So the boy grows up as a gypsy, eventually becomes a knight and wins the heart of lovely Lenore. Alas, a war gets between them. Eventually the troubador (Manrico) starts singing with his lute outside of milady’s bedchamber. Alas and alack, his sworn enemy and current Count (and his brother) is in love with her. This is where the opera begins.

Assorted things happen, there is a duel between the two men, Manrico spares his brother for some reason (he said heaven told him not to kill the Count). The woman he knows as his mother tells him the story of the events 15 years ago, but doesn’t, quite, tell him that he isn’t her son. Actually she does tell him but in a way that he can set it aside if he chooses. And so he does.

Milady thinks Manrico is dead, so Lenore decides to enter a convent as a nun. The count insists that no one will have her, not even God – that she is HIS! He shows up to stop the events, Manrico shows up and whisks her away. There is a battle, both Manrico and his mother are captured (he goes to save her when they capture her). Both are set to die the next morning.

Lenore can’t bear the thought of his death and strikes a deal with the count, she will marry him if Manrico lives and goes free. He agrees. Manrico is horror struck when he realizes what she has done, and even more so when he realizes that she has taken poison rather than marry the count. She dies, the count has him executed. As soon as it is too late, the gypsy woman tells him that he has just killed his brother and that she is finally avenged for the death of her mother. Curtain falls as the Count falls in grief and that, is the end.

What I found myself pondering upon, was the role of the passions in all of this. All of the characters are so caught up in what THEY want – that it doesn’t really matter what the object of their affection, love, hatred, whatever, want. Even the love of Lenore and Manrico has taken that one step too far, though they are certainly focused on each other. Manrico places the life of the woman he thinks his mother over that of his beloved (though she is happy to see him dead – as he is a means to an end for her). Certainly it isn’t a bad thing to risk your life for love of a loved one, but there is something else that comes through in all of the impassioned arias. Of course, Verdi was focusing on getting, and keeping, everyone’s attention!

Don’t get me wrong, the opera was great! I am glad that I went once, but I suspect that if I spend a significant time at the opera pondering on the role of the passions played out before us, that I probably shouldn’t return. It was a most enjoyable evening though, and I do recommend this opera if you get a chance. Parts of it are rather over the top and even absurd, but I think that is the way operas are supposed to be 🙂 Go here for more information that is probably more accurate than my summary!

Heart of a home – prayer and work

It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to have any time for needlework. It is most enjoyable while it lasts! I had forgotten how much I enjoy it and hope to be able to adjust my schedule enough once I am back to both jobs full time so I can have at least a few minutes set aside for sharp pointed objects with holes in them 🙂

What is the heart of a home? For some households it could be said that it is the kitchen, or the dining room table. For those with families, this makes perfect sense – we are taught that our home is indeed an microcosm of the Church, and of course that table around which families gather to pray and to break bread together can be the heart of the home. If it is an Orthodox Christian family, then chances are there is at least a small icon corner at which the family meets for prayer, and that is certainly another heart of the home.

But what if there is no family? What about those Orthodox households in which there is only one person? Where is the heart of the household there? The answer is even easier – though it must be stated that we are NEVER alone, which is one of the wonderful things that our Orthodox faith never ceases to remind us.

I like to think that my apartment has TWO centers, though one is vastly more important than the other. The first is, of course, my icon corner – this is where I pray, and read, and sometimes just “sits and thinks”. This is a private place within my apartment that is located outside of public view and few people ever see.

The second “center” (a loose term), is far more public and, alas, not used near as much as the more private icon corner. However, it is a very special place as well, and as all special places, there are special needs in order to make it most useful. This would be, of course, where the needlework is done – as referenced by the comment above on sharp pointed objects with holes in them 🙂 Here is a picture – and also a nice way to show off my new and quite special floor lamp!

Needlework area

Needlework area

Doesn’t look like much, does it? A wooden rocking chair, a floor-stand frame holder for those projects I need both hands for, and a brand new Mighty Bright LED floor stand with magnifier (which does a fantastic job, I might add). Why, look at all of that empty floor space? That’s good, it means it is easy to find all of those threads and other supplies that get strewn around in the process of working. It doesn’t look like a second center of my apartment, does it? Appearances can be deceptive 🙂

So tell me – here or on your own blog – what is the center of YOUR home? Is there more than one?

The Sound of Silence & Prayers

S-P (here) has been posting about silence, and there is an interesting discussion on his blog about this. I was going to just respond on his blog, but since I haven’t posted here for quite some time, it seemed good to do it here instead 🙂

Silence…. I wish I could hear it 🙂 While that was a joke, I do have tinnitus due to nerve damage which means that for the last full decade, 24 hours a day, asleep or awake, my ears are making at LEAST 3 different sounds, at different tones. (Despite that, my hearing is pretty good).

Oddly enough, at about the same time I started backing off on all of the electronic noise generators that are available. Of course, it doesn’t do us much good to set aside the electronic toys if we just fill the space with interior noise.

Silence…. it would be good to hear physical silence, and it would be much better to hear interior silence. Perhaps, someday, God willing, I will know what that INTERNAL silence sounds like.

In other news, I am preparing to have major surgery on August 19th. Please keep me in your prayers.