I'd like to know what God is doing.
Of course, this is not really true.
In my most spiritual fantasies, God sits me down with a big calender, and goes over the itinerary with me, saying things like, "I'm going to send you over here, and hey, careful there, there's gonna be a cross for you--a big one." In this scenario, I get to argue with Him about the details. "Oh, no, Lord. That cross is too heavy, and look, surely I'd get thorns that could cause infection. We'll have to strike that journey." Or maybe those are my least spiritual fantasies. I mean, what need is there to walk by faith, when you've got God's Day Timer?
The truth is, I have no idea where I'm going. Things are popping up that will no doubt affect my job, my family life, and my illustrious writing career! I don't really know who Claudia Mair is yet. I've only been her for a week. I went to the Dormition of the Mother of God Monastery Sunday, and people called me by my Orthodox names. It was a bit disorienting, and strangely comforting.
A part of me wants to stamp my feet and bellow at God, "Why can't you tell me where I'm going?" None of this is familiar. In a way, I feel blind. My spiritual hands thrust out in front of me, and I want them to light on something solid that I can understand--that I can read like the blind read what they sense without sight, and in a way, that is exactly what I'm doing as I touch the startling new, but it destroys my illusions of control. I'm not in charge. I never have been. My steps have been ordered by the Lord.
There is something magificent in this. I have a Guide. A Comforter. The Holy Spirit is within, urging me toward all truth. The Spirit of God pilots my journey, and gives me a certain peace, even though my mind rages. He doesn't say, "I'm going to take you here or there." He brings the words of Jesus to me, which are simply, "Follow me." He brings to memory the stories that inform my journey: Peter walking on water. The trouble with walking on water though, is that it only seemed to work when he wasn't thinking about it. He went because Jesus bid him to come, and that one word from Jesus was enough. But then he thought about it, and that's what I'm doing now.
Jesus says, "Come," and I wonder if I should bring water proof shoes--Walmart has those little clogs, the kind that gardeners wear. Hey, is okay to shop at Walmart? I ponder if stepping about on those wet waves will give me my death of pnuemonia. "Should I bring my inhaler? Lord, you know too much humidity will give me an asthma attack."
Yesterday, I read that becoming Orthodox is a violent process. It sure has been for me. It has been powerful, fast, and uprooted everything I thought I knew about God, leaving me with a wrecked spiritual house (but a clean one). It's a little more than rearranging the furniture. I got an extreme home makeover. And I can't see to put things just so and arrange it like the old house. I'm tripping all over the new furniture and bumping into walls that weren't there before.
It occurs to me that I should be praying through this. Nothing like that old standby, "Thy will be done." Right?
Last night, I read a prayer by Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow. It's a prayer for acceptance of God's will, and boy did I need that prayer. It goes:
O Lord, I do not know what to ask of You.
You alone know my true needs.
You love me more than I myself know how to love.
Help me to see my real needs which are concealed from me.
I do not dare to ask either for a cross or for consolation.
I can only wait on You. My heart is open to You.
Visit me and help me, for the sake of Your mercy.
Strike me, and heal me; cast me down and raise me up.
I worship in silence Your holy will, and Your unsearchable ways.
I offer myself as a sacrifice to You.
I have no desire than to fulfill Your will.
Teach me to pray. Pray, You Yourself in me.
And I add to that, and teach me to walk on water, without thinking about it.