School is off and running; with the illnesses of previous weeks beaten, my students and I seem to be getting into a routine now...just in time for total upheaval, as an assistant principal and I have determined that the only way we can fix the absurd-yet-perennial situation of native Spanish-speakers being placed in my language acquisition classes is to convert one of my existing Spanish 2 courses into a Spanish 1/2 course for native speakers, and move all native speakers either to this class, or to other native speaker classes already in existence. The non-native speakers in said class will be dispersed to my other six periods. Joy. Yet, while this is a big pain both for me and for them, the advantages of having a much more homogenous classroom environment in terms of abilities and background will be well worth it once we really hit a stride.
Attended liturgy last Sunday for the first time since Transfiguration on the sixth. "It is good for us to be here" is about the only thing that needs to be said. The Church being what it is: the mystery of the Body of Christ on Earth, full of light and lightness.
Found out that a dear friend is getting a divorce, and is already in another serious (or at least an emotionally intense) relationship. Questions about why we grow up to practice without a second thought what we spent our childhoods knowing was wrong (I am no stranger to this), as well as what possible emotional need we're looking to fill by running to these things for our sustenance.
Talk with two inquirers last Saturday evening after Vespers (out of order, I know, but so are these rambling thoughts) about the church they're coming from versus ours, and the invariable discontent that is present during that period of transition. The situation they were coming from was one I could sympathize with, as well as understand why they would want to make the move they were making, so it was a bit of an attempt to help them temper the discontent with acknowledgement of the goodness and beauty that's there where they came from. Had "that feeling" both during and after the conversation, which I brought up to Father Basil after they had left: during conversations where I am asked my opinion (and even those when I am not), I will often feel, during the times I'm talking, a nagging voice inside that says, "Shut up; shut up; shut up; you're talking too much and not only making a fool of yourself, but also hogging the conversation and feeding your ego with your chatter." Father said that he had talked with a priest just the other day who was concerned about this very thing within himself, and also said that he had overheard an actual theologian voice this very fear about himself, as well. Good to hear I'm not alone... Fr. said that, as long as I'm aware of the tension, as long as I'm asking these questions of myself, an important check is in place in me. Audra's advice re: this was best, though, imo: "Always strive to listen louder than you talk."
Vespers tonight, then inquirers class with two regular inquirers. Talked about the Church as a Mystery which has mysteries within it, and about how to read the Bible. For the latter, we read part of an article by Bp. KALLISTOS (which can be found in the back of the Orthodox Study Bible New Testament/Psalms). Always good to revisit "the basics." A brother from an OCA mission in Birmingham is here in Ft. Worth on business the next few weeks; got to visit with him and hear his story. Growth, pains, small buildings, committment, community--all these things mark his current experience in the Faith, and he loves it. Totally captivated by the beauty and the goodness of the Church as worship of God. Seeing the Church--and, thus, Christ--in this manner makes all other reasons for leaving behind former confessions/lives rather trivial, as the one Thing needful trumps all convert defensiveness, self-important chatter, emotional reactions or occupational curveballs.