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slaying the dragon…

I spent a couple of hours last night at a bible study. Bible studies are not my usual bag. Don’t get me wrong, I love to study the bible, it just that the “group bible study” aspect hasn’t been part of my normal gig. I spent 12 years in Catholic schools and contrary to popular protestant belief, we do actually read and study the bible.

So, over the years whenever presented with the chance to sit down with a group of people in the “bible study” realm I would most politely decline.

But I did go to a bible study this week. I keep trying to get to visit Divine Liturgy but frankly, my life is completely wacky. I try to make time to get there and then when someone gets sick or a friend comes in from out-of-town or we decide to take a trip someplace at the last-minute the best laid plans will fail.

I may be testing the communities I contact too. Will I have to wear a dress? Will they be open to “outsiders” visiting? Will the location work for me?

I’ve been emailing priests all over the Chicago area for a month now. I’m neurotic enough to think that if I don’t start to follow through on the contact, at some point there will be a picture of me circulated with the words, “have you seen this woman?” like a bad check hung behind the register.

This is when I got the email from Father George. He confirmed to me that yes, women “traditionally” wear dresses to Liturgy and that no, they do not have a set class for catechumens but that he would welcome talking with me in person or on the telephone. He invited me to the bible study which I promptly missed. The following week he invited me again and so I went.

I went because he invited me in. I went because I was tired of waiting for Sunday to roll around and afraid that when it did I would find a reason to miss it. I went because I realized that Liturgy is the time when I come before God to enter into the act of worship but that what God asks of me, right now, is to enter into the act of fellowship and trust. I already trust Him, it’s time to put some trust in those who would gather with me in this.

So I went and we studied Exodus and I made some jokes and gave some insights and asked some questions. Each of the very lovely Greek women at the bible study asked about me and my life. They laughed at my jokes. They welcomed me in.

At the end of the bible study I spoke with Father George again. I described my situation a little and told him that I felt I wanted to meet with him to talk about continuing my catechism and that I needed help finding a sponsor, that I suffer from a little social anxiety and I needed some direction through it all. He said, “I understand. I can help you with that.”

I need help, I realize this now. This anxiety, this neurosis, this dragon I cannot slay on my own. Who better to help than St George?