This weekend was full of excitement and nostalgia. Friday got it off to a bang with a practice test for the comps, workshopping with Sarah and Elizabeth, and a dinner with reading at Kellie’s. The vegetarian jambalaya was fantastic!
On Saturday, we went to Izzy’s second birthday party, which was a celebration of all the things she loves: balls, Dora and Diego, rubber-duckies, shoes, and pizza!
We bought her a game that goes with the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. I read the book out loud to some of the people at the party. I know they loved it despite their protests when I started to read it for a second time. We also bought her a million (exaggeration) little rubber toys for the tub. Ducks. Fish. Frogs. They all spit water from their little puckered mouths. And, we got her a football, small enough to fit her hands, but big enough to really throw. She got a bunch of other stuff from other people.
Her presents from my brother and from Alex were the best; they got her pink high-top Chucks and a little, ruffly sun dress, respectively. Who knew boys could shop so well for little girls. I think it may be because both of them secretly want children of their own! They both deserve the best in life, so I know they will find it. I have never met two more amazing single guys! She also got a HUGE rubber-ducky from some other friends. It was pretty sweet except it was a little creepy because it looks like it is staring at you no matter where you point its head. I would still love it if I was Iz.
Back to the party. We ate lots of pizza. I ate mostly cheese pizza. And, we broke a piñata that was shaped like a shoe. Of course, Abs made the best cakes: Dora with a waterfall and mountains, a baseball, rubber-ducky cupcakes, and shoe-shaped cookies. I got a bit of a sugar overload as I over0indulged. Since I haven’t been eating much sugar lately, I think it made me pretty sick, but it was good cake!
On Sunday, my family and I went to Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church in Indianapolis. The priest, Fr. Dean, who spoke reminded me of the priest in South Bend when I was little. He was fun, funny, relevant, and poignant. He reminded the Greeks who are founding this parish that they needed to work hard to get it started, but he also reminded them that their work is sanctified. He, like the last priest that spoke, was from Detroit. I can say that if I lived in Detroit, I would have my choice of parishes to attend, not like here in Muncie, where I have to drive to Indy to go to the Orthodox Church.
My uncle asked me if I was ready to be baptized in the Orthodox faith. I didn’t have to think about it. I am ready.
He said, “I would be your god-father,” which is funny coming from an older, completely bald guy who isn’t much taller than I am.
“Of course,” I said, “who else would I ask? Of course, I want you to be my god-father!”
He beamed. To put this in perspective, Reader, I should ask if you have ever seen The Princess Bride. You know the little bald guy, who is friends with Andre the Giant? That is my Uncle George, complete with the lisp. He will be my god-father.
My questions about this are: 1) Do I have to take classes? 2) Do I get to choose my own baptismal name? 3) Do I have to kiss the priest’s hand when I take communion? 4) What are the differences between Orthodox and other theologies? 5) How does this all work? I have so many questions because I don’t want to sign up for something I don’t believe in simply because I am ethnically Greek.
I love the way the Greek church smells. The incense is a pleasing fragrance to the Lord, I am sure. In the small, bare chapel where Holy Apostles has its services, I can transport myself back to the beginning of the Christian centuries and imagine myself worshipping with the early believers. With all of the sacramentalism and ritual, I picture Peter and Paul attempting to meld together their Jewish heritage with this new covenant, and trying to work the Eucharist into their already established Jewish customs.
What results is a seemingly over-the-top representation of Christ to the people, which can, at times, be a little off-putting. However, with the liturgy taking place in such a small, archaic chapel with wooden pews and only two icons in the room, I can imagine how Peter and Paul wrestled with retaining the liturgy and their Jewish customs while transferring their new beliefs to everyday people.
The ceremony which initially seems to be too ornate and ostentatious is, in fact, the way the Word is related through the body of the priest to the body of God’s Church. The priest relates the Christian story in the same way each and every Sunday; the only things that change are the Biblical readings for week, working slowly through the entire Judeo-Christian story. Through the multiple kyrie eleisons and Lord, have mercys, I learn my salvation again and again. Isn’t that the point of church?
Today, I got up and walked the dogs, then I continued my new running program. It is going quite well. Hopefully, by the time school starts, I will be ready to run a 5K and not die halfway through. My goal is to run a 5K road race sometime in September or October. I hope to run a mini-marathon by next spring or early summer, then sometime around my next birthday (when I will turn 36), I would like to run a full-length marathon. I hope it happens. I really want to say I ran a marathon before I turn 40. That is really my goal. I hope it happens. I have no unrealistic expectations. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.
Now it is 1PM, and I have to study. This week is Early American literature, better than the Renaissance, but not as good as what is coming. I seem to prefer literature after the 1700s, the rest is just background!