Tomorrow evening marks one week of being parents. As we recover (is there really any time to do that?!) from this first, whirlwind week, there's obviously so much going on in my head...
First of all...I am a Daddy. It seems so...old. Yet here's this small, round, pot-bellied munchkin who depends on her mother and me for everything. She is my daughter, and I love her more than I have ever loved any other human being. Which brings to mind something I know as an absolute from this first week of being a father: Love is absolutely not a feeling. Really, I don't think it has anything to do with it at all. Yes, we've had the cuddly, warm-fuzzies moments; yes, she's absolutely beautiful and has already charmed me to death...but this week has been emotionally draining, truly. It's left me, oftentimes, very much bereft of feeling and very much aware of a desire to protect her. Something I'm willing to sacrifice for, this protective instinct is so divorced from any feeling that to call any sort of "gut emotion" "love" is, to me, to cheapen what love truly is. In fact, it's when you get past all the emotional, "drama queen/king" stuff that you find out how you truly value something or someone. What you're willing to do when no one's looking, nothing's in it for you and motivational "feelings" are nowhere to be found--this is the measure of your love for a thing or a person or (better still) Persons.
Secondly: Audra is a creature of strength and grace. My wife, who has very little tolerance for pain in normal situations, let doctors have their way with her for seven brutal hours--the nurse said they were the hardest she'd ever seen--of contractions before hearing for sure that a C-section was imminent. So much tougher than she gives herself credit for, she is an amazingly sturdy, secure person who, though she be concerned at first, will not let the feelings of fear and impatience that naturally arise dictate how she will live her life around baby.
Audra's parents leave tomorrow morning; they have truly been more help than they know, and I am more grateful for their assistance and expertise than I can express. Wonderful folks, very active missionaries to India. Not much contact with the Indian Orthodox, though their photos of charismatic endeavors make it seem as though they are doing quite a lot there.
Which leaves me feeling conflicted. On the one hand, my obvious desire is to see the Orthodox faith spread across that land St. Thomas so thoroughly evangelized 2,000 years ago. On the other hand, missionary efforts among indigenous Orthodox seem so few and far between so as not to register on anyone's radar--for example, the radical Hindi goverment following my father-in-law around. It's almost as if, in the absence of any real, determined missionary work among God's true Church, those who are very much outside her are going in and confronting the pagan strongholds.
And with what? With the name of the Incarnate Lord, Jesus Christ, knowledge of the Holy Trinity, and the awareness of (and overwhelming desire for) the presence of the All-Holy Spirit. I would rather have them there, converting the Hindus to charismaticism, than to have them stay Hindu. I applaud their focused determined efforts, even if I bemoan their theology (and our Church's lack of activism in this area).
If anyone knows of Orthodox work being done in India, please let me know; also, pray for the child of God Elizabeth, the mother Natalya (both of whom will return to Church on the 31st of July for baptism) and frazzled father Peter.
May Christ our God have mercy on us all, and raise us up that we may glorify Him among all peoples of the world.