Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Burgeoning Megalomania, Signs from God, and (maybe) a Letter

Hmmm...I'm almost finished with B&W, W&O. Very good book. In a lot of ways, it's helped me in psychological terms. In...acceptance and moving on in some ways. Which is a surprise, since that wasn't the point of me getting the book, the book itself, and frankly, I hate psychiatry and the whole shebang. But it's helped, interestingly enough.

So, by the time I finish the book, I should be perfect! AND YOU WILL ALL BOW BEFORE ME!


*angel steps out of ether and headslaps Amber* *sigh* Excuse us a moment.... *drags Amber off stage*

(Right, this pic is not a political commentary from me! I was looking for headslap pictures to illustrate, and couldn't find the one I wanted, but I found this one, and it's too awesome to ignore. Just replace Bush with your mental image of me!)

*crickets chirping*

*Amber stumbles back on stage, cartoon birdies twirling about her head* Um. Sorry. I've been informed I may have gone a little crazy a minute ago. Apparently, *glances off stage - hand appears from behind the curtain, making a 'go on' gesture* apparently, I will not, in fact, be perfect after having finished the book. So, I guess ya'll don't have to bow down to my supremacy. Yet.

*heavy sigh emerges from behind curtain* We'll talk about this *later*.

Moving on...

Signs from God. I mean, do you think they happen? Really? To us? Like in personal ways? Or are we just reading into things?

Allow me to give you an example. (Thus far, my only example, so there ya go with that...)

Years ago I had agreed to do something fairly stupid, with a high possibility of getting myself into trouble, and re-imbroiled with my stepfather (who, if ya'll've been paying attention, is an abusive jackass). Why, you may ask, having left (and having tried to shoot him once, I might add!) would I do that? I can't explain. I can't tell you why, having been abused, it's SO HARD for some of us to not fall right back into obedience to these people. It's fear, even knowing that the end result was going to be at least mental anguish, saying 'no', was too hard at that moment, with him on the phone, begging. Even KNOWING it was all a scheme, I couldn't do it. I caved, and I was *shaking* afterward, this man scared me that much. And this was as an adult!

I went home, and I wanted to talk to my parents, but I was still scared, still just...I didn't know what to do. And this was back when I was just starting to rediscover Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular. So, I decided (and I can't really tell you why I thought to do this), that I would use the Bible as a sort of oracle (which I know now is not something we should do). Or at least try to. I took my Bible, closed my eyes, opened it randomly, and put my finger down. (The idea being that where ever my finger landed would help me decide what to do.) Now, the chances of landing on a random verse that was applicable to my personal situation at that moment, I don't know what they are. I think they're kind of slim. I mean, sure, I could probably have bent most verses to fit, but I didn't have to.

I can't remember which verse it was, I didn't mark it or write it down, but it basically said, 'listen to the advice of your elders.' So that's what I did. And it was to back out of this. It was a bad idea, we all knew it, and the best thing was to reinforce that all ties had been cut.

That night, I dreamt (what I believe to be) my guardian angel for the first (and only that I remember) time. I can't tell you details, but I remember meeting this woman, and talking to her in a cafe. I remember that she had on a long dress and dark brown, curly hair that she wore in a mesh snood. And I know that I wasn't scared to call and cut everything off again after I talked to her. So.

What, you may ask, makes me bring all this up now?

We all know I have Extreme Social Awkward. I've been waffling back and forth about calling the Orthodox Church in town and asking about coming to a Divine Liturgy to watch. I want to ask first, because I feel like this is going to be totally different, out of my realm of experience, and I really just want to sit in a corner in the back, not have to try and act like I know what I'm doing, and watch. Listen and...observe. But I'm not comfortable calling. I mean, I'm certain they're perfectly nice people. I have no reason to believe otherwise. But...ESA. I kept telling myself, 'if only they had a website! i could check it out, look at pictures of the church, email them.' But alas, no website. Even though I googled off and on for months. Nothing. And it thought that was okay, because I couldn't really go anyway, I have to teach class on Sunday, and the times just don't work.

Well. Next weekend, the weekend after Thanksgiving, we have no class. There're other 'school holidays', but this is the first one. So I was googling again, with the thought that, maybe, I could get over the ESA enough to call, because that would be a convenient day to go.

And...lo and behold, they have a website! (St. Sava Orthodox Church) And it's not *new*, the info on there is from September of this year! So it's been there the whole time! And I've been googling their name, because I already knew it, so why didn't it show up before? And the email address is listed. So I could email them with my bizarre request.

So, should I? Things seem to be lining up to allow it, but I'm certainly not ready to 'jump the river' or anything. I'm undecided on lots of issues, and I'm not in a rush. But everyone says that a person needs to attend the Divine Liturgy to get a feel for the Orthodox church.

Also, the priests last name is Dragan! And...that's just awesome, given my love of Dracula and dragons in general...

I haven't emailed yet, because I'm still not certain that the time is right, and I've been trying to figure out what to say. Here's my vague, nebulous written-in-my-head email:


My name is Amber, and I'd first like to apologize for what I'm sure is an odd question.

I would like, if it is at all possible, to attend an Orthodox service, just to observe. I'm not Orthodox, but have recently begun learning about it, and have been told by many people that the best way to get a feel for the faith is to attend. Seeing as how I am not Orthodox, and have never even been inside an Orthodox church before, I don't want to cause a disturbance to the worshipers, and that's why I'm emailing.

I was wondering if it would be possible for me to sit somewhere unobtrusive, like in the back? Because it would be painfully obvious I don't belong.

I would appreciate it if someone could contact me (insert info here), and let me know if this is possible, and if so, what I need to do - if there's a dress code, or a particular time, or someone I need to speak to before hand in order to do this in the best way. Or if not, just to let me know, because I understand that this is an odd request, as I said.

Thank you.'



  1. I say go. And your email is great.

    As you know, I just did the same thing with the Islamic school. I feel like I am an "odd" case even though they reassure me I am not the only one to ever attend their school as a non muslim. I am sure other people have asked the same thing you are asking.

    I'm terrified. I will be alone, I will no no one. But I must satisfy my curiosity. All roads point to going you know? Will you ever be satisfied if you don't go?

    I don't like the word "fate" I prefer guidance because I do not believe EVERYTHING happens for a particular planned reason. However, I do think God guides us and he may be telling you to check it out. It won't hurt.

    And please tell us what it is like. Reading your posts makes me want to go to a service too! lol

  2. Just go, Amber. No need to call first. Orthodox worship services are open to anyone.

    It's not like there's snake handling or any odd stuff going on, you know. It' s just liturgy.

    You can slip in the back witout venerating any icons, and it will be FINE. And perhaps someone will even bring you some blessed bread after Eucharist has been served.

    Just GO! Don't be scare. Really.

  3. First that was quite an introduction to this post, Ms. Perfect! :-P

    Second, GO GO GO! You don't even have to ask someone. I have never heard of a church saying "please do not come." They always want people to come! I agree with Alana.

    Let us know how it goes!

    Neat sign from the Bible. I believe God uses things like that sometimes.

  4. Alana,

    You really think it's okay to just show up?

    I'm just...I don't want to screw something up, or be in peoples' way...

    'It's not like there's snake handling or any odd stuff going on, you know. It' s just liturgy.'

    *snort* Oh, I know. Not that I'd go to a snake handling service, but I think I'd be *less* nervous about going there, for some insane reason.

  5. Susanne,

    You know you love my dramatic streak! :)

    Oh, I know - I've never heard of a church doing that either, it's Believe it or not, I'm better than I used to be....

    I hope to go. I want to go. And you can be sure I'll let ya'll know about it. :)

  6. Amber,

    What Alana said, plus:

    They will probably glance over their shoulders at you many, many times. Its not that they despise you being there, but, its just a human reaction to someone who is new. Also, they are trying to focus on the liturgy/prayers but still be nice to you.

    Try it...looks like a new, people-friendly church. :D

  7. Might be a good time to tone down the "full hijab" and not look too middle eastern though. Wear a covering, but consider their cultural baggage and all that being it's a Serbian parish.

  8. Second thought: You might want to tone down the scarf to a "babushka" style or behind the neck tie. Full hijab to Serbian eyes is a little close for cultural memory comfort. Just trying to grease the skids for ya.

  9. Anna & Alana,

    First, thanks. I'll try to keep in mind they're not glaring at me when they look. :)

    Second, Thanks again. I did think about that, and had sort of decided to wear a snood or a tiechel. They're both more subtle and low key, and not culturally tied so much.


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