Monday, March 31, 2008

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

It may seem a bit cliche, but it's true! Since moving to the east coast, T and I have been missing many things about the west coast and GU and, yes, even Spokane!

I miss being close to family. T's family was only four hours away, mine was 19 (19 may seem like a lot, but it's 19 hours driving, and in our good little car it's still cheaper to drive for 19 hours than to fly for 5 1/2 hours from Boston). Also, being on the west coast meant not changing time zones whenever we did go to visit family. We went down to CA at least twice a year (and were able to stay for at least a week or so) and we'd visit Seattle every few months for long weekends. It was so good to be around all our little siblings and nieces and nephews. They grow up so quickly that one wants to be around for as much of it as possible! They've changed so much since we left...

It was also good to be around people who love you, and have always loved you, and will always love you. I'm not saying that our friends over here don't love us or won't love us in the future, but family is just different. My mother told me "your spouse is the only member of your family that you get to choose," which is true. But that means that God has chosen the rest of your family--your immediate and extended family, AND your in-laws (and their extended family!). There's no question about loving these people. They were put in your life by God and you have to love them (that's the way I put it when I was a kid--especially when my sisters and I were fighting). Friends may come and go, but you're stuck with family forever. :) And it's beautiful!
But speaking of friends--we have been blessed with those kinds of friends who become like family. The guys who are like brothers, women who are like sisters, and professors who become like favorite uncles or grandparents or older siblings, even. True, there aren't too many of them, but those we have are infinite beings whom we can spend the rest of our friendships getting to know! Some are here in Boston (Praise the Lord!) and others are scattered over the US and the world. We love our new friends, and we miss our old friends (so how 'bout that farm idea, eh?!).

T and I miss the Ruthenian Byzantine rite. Though, to be perfectly honest, neither of us are technically Byzantine. T's family converted and were all baptized into the Roman rite, but soon after started attending the Byzantine rite. He was mostly raised Byzantine, though, since they converted when he was 9-ish... Six of his younger siblings were baptized Byzantine. I was born and raised Roman Catholic and "became" Byzantine after meeting, falling in love with, and marrying T. My love of the Eastern Catholic traditions draws from, I believe, a deep and abiding love for all the beautiful aspects of the Roman rite. We love both rites! In Spokane, we'd go to Divine Liturgy on Sundays and to daily Mass during the week. I miss the fullness of experiencing both.

More specifically, I miss our dear little Ss. Cyril and Methodius church! I miss the icons and the Holy Doors and the processions and the vestments and the CUTE little altar boys and the singing and the babies and the INCENSE (so much incense--my hair usually smelled "like church" when we got home) and the Slavonic and... just everything. I miss Fr. Bill's homilies: "It's the quality of the fast, not the quantity, that is so important in our eastern tradition, my brothers and sisters. ::long pause as Father stares at the ceiling. Baby coos (sometimes crickets chirp):: And we must remember that as we move into this season of Great Lent."

For that matter, I miss going to St. John's in Seattle. I miss Fr. Joseph's homilies too: "The way you live is the way you die, and the way you die is the way you'll be for all eternity. So fast and pray!" (They're not all like that--he's just terse sometimes during Lent when he's only eating vegetables. His homilies are beautiful and profound!) I miss, too, all T's younger siblings singing the psalms and Fr. Joseph's gardens outside, and the bells!

And generally speaking, we miss the laid-back-ness of the west. It's not that the east coast is "uptight" or anything, but there's just a feeling of relaxation out west more than there is here. There's more space, too. And mountains--I miss the mountains.

Oh well, enough reminiscing. I didn't want this post to come off as complaining about being on the east coast--we are really enjoying ourselves out here (honest!). We have made wonderful friends, have good jobs, a nice home, and we get to have lots of fun, too. I guess I just wanted to put my two cents in about all the good we left behind. We'll get back there someday!

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