Thursday, August 25, 2005

I guess I'll just do my thing...

and hope that other folks post...I *was* glad to see that so many of my good friends have signed on as contributors...we look your contributions! Please remember, random comments are fine...thoughts...profound or not. For those of you still in Greece, I can probably speak for all of those who have returned: we'd love to hear your thoughts, experiences, frustrations (it would make it less painful, perhaps, to not be there!), and so on. This is a place for the profound AND the mundane (at least at present...if it gets *too* mundane we might have to look at a new approach!) Has the cost of tomatoes risen exponentially? Have the taxis gone on strike again? Is there a new theology conference to look forward to? (and an anti-conference, of course!)? Have the anarchists organized another coup of the Theology School? What's the latest Ph. D. dissertation that the professors are shouting at each other about? I don't want this to deteriorate into a gossip blog...but a little bit of news from our favorite European city would be a wonderful thing...and perhaps it would inspire some dialogue. As regards deeper things...what are you reading at present? What classes are you taking and what are you learning (besides patience, of course...;-) What have you learned/are you learning from your experiences in the Church's services? Have you been blessed with a particularly kataniktiko all-night vigil at some little kelli or skete on the Holy Mountain or in a parish in the city? When did it begin? What was the weather like? What kerasmata were there? Who did you see there? Have you spoken with an elder/eldress recently? What did you learn from him/her that might be soul-profiting to those of us scattered in the desert? For those of us back on this side of the Atlantic...what have you learned/are you learning now that you've returned from Greece? What was the transition back to the States like? What do you miss most? least? What was the most important lesson you took away with you? I look forward to a fruitful, encouraging, and God-pleasing dialogue!


Blogger aaronandbrighid said...

Well, I hate to say it, but our transition back to America was a little jarring due to an extended stay with my parents. They are wonderful people, and very pious Orthodox Christians who have generously tolerated us as housemates for two separate and prolonged occasions now, but for some reason I just feel very stifled when living in their house. I always seem to wind up not praying, not reading (at least anything profitable), and just generally letting myself go there. Things have been much better since Brighid and I rented our own house last September.

As for what I miss most, they are basically two: our friends (we have almost no close Orthodox friends in Oklahoma), and the many holy persons, places and things all around you in Greece. I cried the last time I visited Serres and the last time I saw Elder Joseph of Xeropotamou. I get chills every time I remember marvelling at the beauty of the stars one night with Gerontissa Ephraimia at Thasos. These things are much fewer and farther between in the United States.

Thank God, I did have a nice trip to St Anthony's, San Francisco and St Herman of Alaska Monastery last summer (thanks largely to the generosity of 2 of our Texas friends), and so I'm well aware that such things can be found in the good ol' US of A. But it cost a relative fortune to visit those places, whereas Thessaloniki alone has numerous ancient churches and relics and it's not unusual to bump into Athonite monks on the street.

Well, those are some of my thoughts. I certainly don't miss the frequent cultural clashes, and as I've said before, I just find Americans more comfortingly familiar. But there remains a whole lot to be said for the Greek experience.

5:38 PM EDT  
Blogger Andrew Middleton said...

I appreciate hearing more of your story, Aaron! It's interesting how different subjects get dealt with in different ways...I'm thinking of the fact that we have spoken on numerous occasions since returning to the States, but I only had intimations of some of the things you touched on in your comment/post. I suppose some things are simply easier to write than to say? This may be the case, in particular, for guys?
As for my own story/thoughts...I'll have to leave that for a later post!

6:44 PM EDT  

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