I am writing my sequel to the Pearl of Great Price – hopefully I will not need 9 drafts and 6 years to finish my sequel! I am amazed that when I am writing a book , I will be living similar experiences in the present that mirror what I was going through years prior that are the subject of my writing. My new book is about my struggles to reconcile my past in the light of my baptism as an Orthodox Christian, find Christ in my heart and become more deeply Eastern Orthodox in terms of my world view.
Fifteen years have past since that time. My husband and I recently moved to our home and land overlooking the “Valley of the Dancing Angels (My husband gave this valley that name. When it is a cloudy day wisps of clouds float and dance in the valley resembling dancing angels.) We felt called to be here to deepen our spiritual life and experience as Orthodox Christians. What I am struggling with now is quite similar, yet different, to what I grappled with in my early years in Orthodoxy, Our spiritual challenges here are helping me to remember who I was back then.
Now as then, I am in a new environment. Then we moved back to San Francisco, my home town. I had not lived there for 25 years. While our land is not unknown to me, for we have spent many weekends here over the nine years it took for us to build our home, living here is quite different from visiting.
Then as now I feel my soul’s salvation close the the heart of my motivations for moving. I know a lot more about Orthodoxy now than I did in 1997-99, but for all I know, I feel as if I have begun newly to view who I am and what I am doing in the light of Christ. I feel quite humbled by the task of truly being an Orthodox Christian. I am now 60 years old. Then I was 45. Then I was literally going through the ‘change of life’. Now I am looking at what will I do with the rest of my life?
In the stillness of the wilderness, having more time to devote to our prayer life, what is it that really matters in life? I can see how far I have to go and as most saints have said as they approached their death – they had hardly begun to live in Christ! Moving here required a huge leap of faith on my part.
I am so glad we are here now – as I was in 1997 when beginning our new life in Christ. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to focus more of my attention on my prayer life and writing in the quite and stillness of the years of prayers that have made this mountain holy. Even if I cannot attend church due to my physical limitations as often as I would like, God is more closely with us here. May I make good use of the gifts given to me O Lord!