About once a month, I get together with some very dear girlfriends to reconnect, share, and bolster each other’s spirits. During a recent gathering, the discussion turned to religion. Or, more specifically, churches and our feelings about them (none of these friends are Orthodox).
By that point in the evening, the group had dwindled to me and two ladies that are particularly special to me. We began talking about how tough it can be to get an entire family ready, out the door, and to church on time. The conversation shifted to the churches we attend; my friends had spent years trying and leaving various churches, and one had decided to just stop going altogether. She and her husband did a Bible study together, and she felt that was sufficient for them. The other (whose husband refuses to attend any church) had settled on one she liked because it was “old”. But, she admitted, that church was going to change denominations and she wasn’t sure how she felt about it.
My friends were clearly looking for something they hadn’t found, as are many noncradle Orthodox when we find the True Faith. They wanted their children to be involved in a church family. They themselves were yearning for something they did not know, and didn’t know where to look.
I care very much about these women. And yet I didn’t tell them about Orthodoxy.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this since then; why wouldn’t I share this Light, this missing piece of the soul? Would it have taken too long to explain? Was I afraid of the way they’d look at me? I had done them an incredible disservice and assumed they
wouldn’t/couldn’t accept what I had to say. For the time I’ve spent reading of the Saints and the Fathers and Mothers and hoping I would channel a small piece of them, I certainly shied away from looking like a “fool for Christ”.
We, as Orthodox, are still little known and little understood in America. If we are to fill this earth with the Truth that we know, we cannot be silent about it. As Fr. Seraphim Rose would say, “it’s later than you think.” And so, when the opportunity presents itself again, I will prove that I care very much about these women (and men, and children) and share with them.