Forgive

I cannot walk. Yesterday was the Forgiveness Vespers service, and BOY was there a lot of forgiving. For those that don’t know, Forgiveness Vespers is where everyone, starting with the priests, goes around asking everyone to forgive them and forgiving everyone in turn. Before it started we even called a few of our family and friends (well, the ones we could get a hold of) to ask for their forgiveness over the phone. It’s a way to start off the cleansing of Lent with a humble attitude, knowing that to be forgiven is and should be the first and foremost of priorities.

But the service was just for parishioners. It was especially moving to see 80 year old Archbiship Dimitri ask forgiveness from even the smallest of children. What an amazing display of humbleness! To hear such a great man who literally spends his LIFE working for the church apologize to us all for the little time that he spends on himself instead of giving all 100% away to others was unforgettable. Makes my manicures look pretty selfish!

Anyways, the service takes a while, especially at St. Seraphim. Last year, at St. Barnabas there were at least a 100 people, and we bowed and apologized to each one. At St. Seraphim, there were around 200, and we didn’t just bow- we prostrated. Yes, we full on got down to touch our foreheads to the ground and prostrated before each person. And then we had to give the kiss of peace to each and every one. Anyone who knows my issues with boundaries and personal space knows that kissing people three times in a row on the cheek is NOT my cup of tea.

But both Jesse and I made it through. After around an hour of this, we were finished. Granted, we were covered in the sweat and kisses of 200+ people, but we made it. Afterwards, we went out to eat with Heather, Josh, Jenny, Christopher, Photius, Carissa and their children at a fun place called Cuba Libre in the Center of Dallas. It was a great “Mardi Gras” moment for all.

It wasn’t until this morning that we realized we can no longer walk without immense pain. It’s like our thighs and backs have ceased to work.

One thing’s for sure. I’ll never feel awkward about Lenten prostrations ever again. Practicing over 200 times in a row sure gets any self-consciousness out of one’s system!

Meat-Fare Sunday

The dreaded time has come….Lent is upon us once again. Today was Meat-Fare Sunday, or, more appropriately named, “Pig Out on Meat” Sunday. It means that the first stage, the absence of Meat, has happened. Next week, on “Cheese-Fare” Sunday, dairy will join it in the ranks of forbidden food.

So what did we do? We had a barbecue, of course! Heather and Josh invited a few of us over to their apartment for steak-kabobs, ribs and hamburgers. It was all going rather well, until the hamburger buns accidentally caught on fire and set off all the smoke alarms…it’s been so long since the Seville, I’d forgotten how testy old ovens could be!

Also there were a few others from church- Deacon Theophan, his cute little wife Svetlyana their daughter, and Christopher (who’s drunk more Bacardi 151 in one sitting than anyone else we know…!). They had to leave early, as the couple’s baby needed to be in bed by 8 and Christopher gets up for work at 5am, but we stayed until midnight. Heather and I chatted inside while Jesse and Josh smoked outside. Josh had never smoked a pipe before, but Jesse had him hooked before long!

Hopefully, we can meet with them again soon- they have a favorite “pub” down the street (which is actually a bar, but Josh calls it a pub so he can say it in front of his “Holy Friends”).

Is there such a thing as a “Beer Fare” Sunday? Just for fun?