Voices from Russia

Sunday, 12 June 2016

12 June 2016. Some Thoughts On Our “Permanent City”

00  Yelena Cherkasova. The Righteous Soul Enters Heaven. undated. James Earl Carter 230815

It’s time to embark on the homeward stretch of the pilgrimage… there’s a while yet ahead, but the goal IS in view…

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I wrote this to a friend (it’s an excerpt without personal details):

Real Church people do think alike… even those that appear antipodes apart. Can you believe that Lazar Puhalo and Andrew Phillips agree more often than not? The Holy Spirit IS afoot; He moves in ways incomprehensible to us. In the usual course of events, you’ll outlive me… it’s normal for people my age to reach out to younger folk. I may not have much wisdom, but I do have experience and a life lived to the full. I wish the same for you. Reflect on this… Bishop Kip and Schmemann always fought… but they stayed in the same Church. However, neither one of us is here FOREVER. This is NOT our permanent city. We’re entering the last of life… for what the first was made, according to Browning. It won’t happen tomorrow or next week, but mature people understand what happens. It’s not scary, dear… not at all. The “last” isn’t sudden, y’ know… it takes YEARS… but we ARE in the summing up and I can say that I have NO regrets. I simply wish to pass on some of my accumulated experience and to have the time and necessary vigour to do it.

I shared this with some other friends… here’s a reply:

Yes, we’re entering that period of life when we need to pass on the torch. It was brought home even more so as we returned earlier this week from a family funeral. Unfortunately, what we’ve seen, heard, and lived will never be found in the books… a great loss. Nevertheless, life moves on; God IS there to take care of the Church, and there’ll always be those who can carry on.

Another friend wrote this:

In death, at least, there’s peace. In my years, I have lived to see my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I’m at peace that I did stand for social justice. However, I’m sailing in the winter sun; my memories drift along beside me like autumn leaves, destined to sink beneath the waves with me, and soon. I do thank you for your friendship, and your disagreements at times. I’ve always trusted you, in any case.

My reply was:

Likewise. When and how? That’s what one wonders at our age. However, I don’t dwell on it… neither do you. We’ve become ELDERS… with all that implies. Damn, it means that we have responsibilities… one of which is to show the young ‘uns that authority isn’t always right and that one can stand against injustice, come what may.

I’m not going anywhere yet, God willing… yet, I know that my time is running short (not “running out”, but “running short”). I’m not going to ruin what’s left by capitulating to those whose only credo is Power (that includes those who suck up to the Powerful). Will the next generation be better? I’ll confide that they’ll be no better and no worse than we were… I’m thinking of two young priests here… one is a more thoughtful and reflective sort, the other’s a clueless arrogant power-seeker. The latter is so much hated that after I said, “I want to shake him up and down until he grows some good-sense”, one his contemporaries said to me, “I’d pay to see that!” In the end, our younger contemporaries WILL face the same moral challenges… I’ll do my best to encourage the good ones and oppose the bad ones… then, it’ll be time to go when My Lord calls me. I’m not ready to die nor do I have any premonitions… I’ve just reached a point in life where one accepts that there’s going to be an end to this earthly pilgrimage. At the appointed time, may I reach the Last Homely Home…

BMD

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