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taste and see…

“Someone who has tasted the truth is not contentious for truth. Someone who is considered among men to be zealous for truth has not yet learned what truth is really like: once he has learns it he will cease from zealousness on its behalf.” St. Isaak of Syria

I have this vision of myself and  I am calm, untroubled, slow to anger and quick to offer love and compassion. I have this vision and in it I am an old woman, with hands that are soft and strong, hair that is white and maybe a little wild and my face finds itself wearing a small, contented smile, nearly always.

I have moments of this, short moments of peace slicing through the impulsivity that has been the hallmark of my life so far, like strong light emerging from behind clouds, a lifetime of storm interrupted by the powerful sun- warm, blinding, welcome.

When I began my journey to becoming Orthodox I questioned my Orthodox friends and pestered a number of priests with questions of doctrine and dogma, women in leadership, closed communion, ancient rituals and prayers. The best advice I was given was “It’s different from the inside” and of course, I know now that it is. From the “outside” though, it reads more as a clever ad for a cult. What I know now is that it is “taste and see” and not “buy the book.” It was a matter of trust…this taste and see. But I do know now, how it is different on the inside. I do know now that the struggle doesn’t stop when the oil is applied. I do know now that the search for “truth” has tied me in knots but that the tasting of it, even in small moments, is a gentle untangling of those knots.

And I’m reminded of my mother’s jewelry box and that one of my favorite things as a girl was to sort out her necklace chains, knotted and hopeless. I still love this, untangling those chains. As a girl, I’d sit on the floor of my mother’s room and work the chain between my fingertips, softly, with purpose. To force the chain only weakens the metal, breaking the necklace but a gentle massaging loosens the knots…it takes time and patience, calm strength and compassion and in those moments, the vision is now.

#chains #isaakofsyria #orthodox