Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Muddled Musings this Morning

I was reading someone else's blog a few days ago and they mentioned they've been blogging steadily for four years which is like being 100 in "blog years".  I realized I missed the 7th anniversary of my blog this past July, which means I'm dead, on life support or have dementia in blog years.

One of the things that real life forces me to do (sometimes) is look at my life realistically.  For the past 3 years I've been virtually unemployed and had lots of time on my hands.  It was easy to spend a few hours a day cartooning and writing, and it was a distraction.  The blog went from 10-12 hits a day to 7-800 a day (not that I was counting.... but yeah, I was counting for a while).   It is amazing how fast the hits drop off if you don't post something more interesting than what you had for breakfast every other day.  But that's not the point of this post.

A lot has happened in the last couple months.  New careers for both me and the Missus have rearranged a lot of our life.  The Church we helped start and have served for seven years is going through a positive and healthy transition after years of issues (that I have avoided blogging about).  After fourteen years of doing Church planting and being at the epicenter of major crises that ended up in pastoral and leadership changes in two different Mission parishes we've helped establish, we decided to take a break from leadership roles.  For the good order and sake of allowing the new leadership to establish itself, we essentially left the parish and our friends (and we are all still good friends, there is no animosity at all).  The new leadership agrees that is a good thing I'm not there, but I agreed to be "training wheels" at Reader's Services to teach the new Readers and help them when there is no priest serving a liturgy.  So, we've been visiting various Churches and friends, but also spending more time visiting my parents instead of leading Church services and refereeing dysfunctional Parish Council and hierarchical meetings. 

The reality I've realized lately is I'm not really missing leadership, nor am I missing saying stuff.  I suppose I could write it off to just plain burn-out.  I could spiritualize it and say that after 14 years of radio shows, podcasts, blogs, building monasteries, serving altars and doing Church planting I've realized it all ran on vainglory and ego and I'm finally humbling down and shutting up and getting a REAL spiritual life now.

I could see it as the "demon of the noon-day" and a temptation to be lazy and quit after spending 14 years getting "street cred".

I could see it as a sabbatical.

I could see it as I've been a con-man Jacob and I'm finally getting my "Rachael" after working 14 years being wed to "Leah", the ugly wife I was tricked into (let the Biblically literate understand), but I'm not sure exactly what "Rachael" is or if I will recognize her if I meet her.

I could say all this musing about this is just more evidence of how vainglorious I am, that I'm not all that, I'm not a Bible character, my rumination about it all is pointless because I'll rewrite the history in my head six months and six years from now anyway (and I really don't ruminate about it all that much, actually) and maybe I just need to live in the present moment and not prognosticate about the "whys" and "heretofores".

After 59 years one thing I know is you cannot tell what kind of plant is going to grow from a seed of Providence.  Nothing I've started, finished, quit or avoided, whether with spiritual intentions or evil, has ended up like I believed it would.  Why should the events of this present time be any different.

So maybe I'll just fall back on being a Christian. Love God. Love my neighbor. If I blog or not, podcast or not, be here or there or not, in the end all things will be well.  All things will be well.


Ingemar said...

If these changes mean that you go back to pre-2009 content, I would consider it a change for the better.

el cuerpo negro said...

After only 2 years of preaching, I'm starting to ask myself how many ways a person can say "love God and love neighbor." So good job sticking this out as long as you have, S-P. I for one have from closer to Jesus through your podcasting and blogging.

Anonymous said...

I'm behind you no matter what you choose or where you go. I recall a quote from a film I love, filmed not that far from me, entitled Hope Floats:"You know, I always thought I was gonna be, I don't know, special. But I'm not. I'm just... I'm just an ordinary person. And that's OK."

You are an ordinary person who loves Christ. That is more than OK.


The Grey Pawn said...

You have produced good fruit S-P. Seasons change, and another spring is right around the bend! You'll produce again... :)

David Garner said...

Your podcasts in particular have been a vast benefit to me in my journey toward the Orthodox Church. Wherever this leads from here, you and Bill have been instrumental in me and my family joining the Church. For that, you have my eternal thanks

Anam Cara said...

Gosh. I should have checked in more. I used to do that every day. Then I learned that I could create a private blog (which I only use to check others), list my favorites in a side bar, and I would automatically know when there was a new post. That way I didn't waste time checking if there was nothing.

I have always been a little envious of those of you who can teach me something. I would love to be able to do that. But I'm certain, that unlike you, nothing I have to say could ever help anyone.

I'll never forget when I connected you the blog to you the podcasts. That was an exciting day!

I hope you don't quit. I miss the illumination I so often gained. But I wish you well in whatever path you travel next.

(I deleted above because I realized I had mispelled "travel"!)

Clint said...

Hey, I suppose we all find ourselves in places we didn't expect at various points in our lives. Your journey has been a help to me and to others to this point, so no matter what comes next for you, I am sure that it will be good.

BTW, the word verification below for me is "kingsta" and I feel a little like I should have some street cred just for typing that. I might be in a hip-hop video now...

Anonymous said...

Any Christian comes "halfway home", just by understanding how useless his efforts are (but it is imperative he makes them..).

I think that , eventually, He, comes and meets you halfway, when you are mature enough anyway.

Could be wrong though.

Anonymous said...


When you start on your journey to Ithaca,

then pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.

Do not fear the Lestrygonians (*)
and the Cyclopes and the angry Poseidon.

You will never meet such as these on your path,

if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine emotion touches your body and your spirit.

You will never meet the Lestrygonians, the Cyclopes and the fierce Poseidon,

if you do not carry them within your soul, if your soul does not raise them up before you.

Then pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many,

that you will enter ports seen for the first time with such pleasure, with such joy!

Stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and corals, amber and ebony,

and pleasurable perfumes of all kinds, buy as many pleasurable perfumes as you can;

visit hosts of Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from those who have knowledge.

Always keep Ithaca fixed in your mind.to arrive there is your ultimate goal.

But do not hurry the voyage at all.It is better to let it last for long years;

and even to anchor at the isle when you are old,
rich with all that you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would never have taken the road.
But she has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not defrauded you.

With the great wisdom you have gained, with so much experience,

you must surely have understood by then what Ithaca means.

- Constantine Cavafis (translated by Rae Dalven)

James the Thickheaded said...

Glory to God for all things! As to the our own efforts, Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.

Go wherever God leads you my friend... wherever he leads.

Sophia in West Texas said...

S-P, your musings make me think of a story about St. Anthony (sorry if I muddle it). St. Anthony prayed that God would show him a man more spiritual than himself. In answer, God gave him a vision of a cobbler, a married man with children, who did his work and sometimes paused to pray the Lord's Prayer or the Jesus Prayer. Maybe you've been St. Anthony for too long, and are just getting around to being the cobbler. May God bless you in whatever role He has for you!

Janelle thegeekywife said...

Until we meet again, S-P.

Also give Moo some lettuce for me.

elizabeth said...

many seasons in life for sure. have liked your blog through them all.

Troon said...

I am not sure why you believe you have less to say now, when you seem to be saying even more...I find your recent posts, though fewer in number, full of life, just different..Seasons of growth, change, quiet, reflection...and you have the gift of sharing...May your path take you wherever the Spirit leads...

Jack said...

I hope this doesn't mean you're giving up on Orthodoxy.

Anonymous said...

Steve - I'm not going to blow sunshine up your hoop and I know you don't want that anyways. I absolutely must tell you though that your podcasts & blogs & teachings have had an enormous impact on my life. From the first stuff I heard you and Bill do, to getting my copy of the Orthodox Study Bible you guys sent me, you have opened my heart and mind to vast spiritual treasures unknown to my protestant existence. I'm serious, I learned more from your stuff then I did in 4 years of Seminary from guys who have more letters behind their names than the English alphabet! You have amazing gifts that God has given and used to spread the Kingdom far and wide. I am thankful for your work and service and I will pray for your future endeavours. God grant you many years my friend!

s-p said...

Jack, not leaving "Orthodoxy" (visiting Orthodox parishes and friends we never get to see), just "Ortho-drama". :)

Grace said...

Well, at the risk of flattering so much this sounds like a wake, I have to tell you that when I first started exploring the possibility of Orthodox blogging, yours was one of the ones that I found I just had to keep reading. That's always been the case, as it is with your podcasts.

Lest I trouble you with that, I'll say that the best thing about good writing (or good preaching or good art) is that it helps you expand your narrow tastes a little, so that you begin to see the good in other efforts.

And whether you still get off a few riffs from time to time or not, the good thing is that there's something with a real lasting quality about the very personal and very real sharing you find in good blogs. It sounds just mean to say that I'm glad you were short on work for the last few years, but I am, because I valued your pithless thoughts very much.

Many years (at the keyboard or away from it)!

skunkman44 said...

Sometimes it takes doing a whole lot of stuff besides the Great Commandment to get us to the place where the Great Commandment is really great. I loved your last paragraph and pray God enlightens your heart to know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints and His incomparably great power to us who believe.

Anonymous said...

Leah was not ugly- Leah is "action" as per the Canon of St Andrew and you have been in action for the past 14 years...
May God bless you.
handmaid Leah

Jonathan M said...

There's a great parish in Prescott you could visit :-)

iceyicons said...

One thing you have accomplished is that you have attracted a group of the most interesting and helpful commentors (or commentators?) I have seen in awhile. I got a great poem about Ithaca, an insight about Rachel and Leah, and an obscure but intriguing reference to pre-2009 content that beckons to be followed up on...

Also, you really made my day today when I found this blog. It is funny, and warm, and you take the time to talk with the commentors, and are like a real person we feel we know and can identify with, and then turn out to be an Orthodox priest. That is a door to Orthodoxy, as an Optina disciple of Elder Nektary called it in his book. Just what my teen daughter, a new catechumen, needs right now.

Please ask God to help you, and I won't give up my icon painting career and will keep on trucking, too, OK? "Orthodrama--LOL"

Hira Animfefte said...

Dude. If there's one thing I've learned in my adult life, it's this: Don't let them put you on the parish council. So far I've dodged that bullet.

I just know I have a low tolerance for that kind of administrative horse puckey (as Col. Potter would have put it on M.A.S.H.).

However, it sounds like in other ways, your sabbatical...isn't. I hope that you do find a new church to call home. And yes, it can be nice to let other people do the leading....I quite agree...