It’s all about Agape

I am fairly terrified at the moment. Everything I have been doing the last 2 months or so has been to move to Washington. Be closer to family, friends, and my happy place. (When I’m having a particularly depressing day I picture the ferry ride out to Vashon Island. The water, the trees, the eclectic folks you can people-watch on a ferry… But mostly it’s the water-and-trees-thing.) Getting to celebrate holidays with everyone, and not be alone at my kitchen table with Hubster and our dogs, unless that is what we WANT. Be able to raise my kids (Because it WILL happen. Someday) around said family and friends. So that their grandparents are not strangers to them. However, this weekend Hubster is testing for Larimie County Fire Department. (Which is basically Cheyenne) And he has a really good shot. It’s a small department, the Chief personally called him the other day to confirm that he will be there to test this weekend. That tells you there is a very short list of people applying. And I have to support him testing. He has supported me emotionally and financially while I went to school (and I was in school a long time!) and pursued my career. But there is this part of me that is on the floor, bawling inside at the idea that this will be one more disappointment, one more failed move, one more ride on the depression-spiral because there is something about this area that just gets to me. As much as people say the grey sky of the NW is depressing, I find the dull brown of everything here depressing. But I keep telling myself to suck it up, be a good dutiful, selfless wife and support my husband. I’m basically channeling Jane Eyre at the moment. (Have you guys seen the new movie?  It is SO GOOD!) Tomorrow morning he takes the written test, they will grade immediately and if he passes go right on to the physical test. If he passes he will be doing oral interviews on Sunday. I just hope I can hold it together. It’s weird… to support the idea of him getting a job in his dream career… and at the same time hoping that for some reason or another he doesn’t get it? I am a terrible terrible wife…

So tell me… as an Orthodox wife…. Where is the line?  When you are humble and meek and consider others before yourself… and when you draw the line and saw “I just can’t do that.”  Or are we ever to do that?  I keep praying that God will give me strength, that He will guide me, that He will soften my heart, that he will make me Humble.

I wish I lived in a different era.  Like Jane Eyre.  Where everyone knew their place, there was none of this dreaming of a life above/outside your station.  You accepted what your life was to be.  You knew what was expected of you, you knew how to behave.  This culture is so confusing.  I’m told to be independent and not rely on a man.  I’m told to think for myself.  I’m told not to be a doormat.  But so much of this flies in the face of my faith and I just don’t know how to reconcile how I was raised, with who (I think?) I should be.

********************

So I sent all the above to my good friend M.  She has been in the Orthodox faith longer than I, and underwent her own infertility issues leading to an instant bond between us.  She has been a great wealth of information and insight to me, especially as I have yet to really “connect” with our priest.  (He is a really sweet guy, don’t get me wrong, but you know how sometimes you just “click” with some people and other times it seems like you should, but you just… don’t?  That’s how it is for me)  Anyway, so I sent it to M.  And her succinct reply was basically a reminder that it’s not up to me.  It’s up to God. 

On one hand, it makes sense.  It’s the obvious answer.  Because it IS up to God.  However, just because it is up to God, doesn’t mean I’m not still left wondering how to behave.  How to feel.  Because a lot of what I’m wrestling with here is bigger than “To move, or not to move.  That is the Question.”  It is, how am I supposed to be a wife?  What does that role look like?  When do we sacrifice, and when do we not?  Or do we ever not sacrifice?  I realize that the majority of my readers are not Orthodox, and so are influenced by their faith, or culture or whatever is their measurement of standard of behavior and morality.  And I don’t want non-Orthodox folks to read this and think that Orthodox people are a bunch of ignorant patriarchal morons.  I think whatever your belief, you realize the importance of people in relationships having roles, boundaries, expectations and codes of conduct.  A complete lack of this would lead to chaos.  And the fact is that the idea of sacrificial love works both ways, Hubster should/does try to make decisions our of love for me even though it may cost him something.  So in the give-and-take of sacrifice, when do we step up and say “I’m ok with this.  I’m not ok with that.” or does that negate the very nature of being sacrificial in our love? 

I don’t even know if I’m making sense anymore. I just know it all comes down to Agape.  Which is Greek for Sacrificial Love.  Most languages have numerous words for “love”… just not our English language.  Stupid English.

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