Presvytera Vassi Makris Haros is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Art, Architecture & Planning and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. She is the owner, designer and photographer of V’s Cardbox, In Service and Love. a greeting card company featuring cards with an Orthodox voice. She strongly feels that experiencing the Orthodox Faith through the church’s cyclical calendar of feasts and fasts is a gift that is too often overlooked.
You can never go home.
This was the warning I was given as I headed off to my first of six college co-ops. It seemed like an odd thing to hear as we were saying good-bye. But it was a truth and Elaine knew I wasn’t afraid of truths.
Upon each of my returns, I truly understood what she meant. As I was off growing on my new tangents in new cities, the rest of Cincinnati stayed its course. They didn’t stop, frozen in time. They went on without me just as I had grown without them.
I remember her advice every Bright Monday. I’ve learned that we can’t go “back to normal” following Great and Holy Lent, and the intense experiences of Holy Week services. After a month and a half of fasting, prayer services, and personal exploration and growth, it’s impossible to go back. I am new, slightly improved, (or so I hope) after these experiences. I’ve been changed. Now, it’s time to set course on a new normal.
For example, we may have learned that we need less than we thought.
Having made a conscious effort to simplify, I’ve discovered that I can actually do with less. I very rarely need the perfect anything to make a moment wonderful. The ingredients to making things wonderful are sincerity, patience, and peace. In my new normal, I hope to be grateful with what I have and work more on a few virtues.
We may have learned that we love church!
I love the way the prayers give me the words I didn’t have to express things I was feeling. I love watching the candles breathing in the oxygen and giving a glow to the icons. I love when we gather together to experience the Orthodox faith. In my new normal I hope to attend more vespers and orthros services.
We may have learned that we don’t need food as much as we thought.
During this long fast, I’ve had to face yet again that I love food more than I love myself. I learned that I am too dependent on how things taste over the nourishment they give. During the fast we would eat the strangest things for the sake of nourishment. It never mattered what I was in the mood for. In my new normal I hope I will take more control over what I eat without first asking myself how I feel.
Tomorrow we will close our Lenten Season and begin the celebration of our Lord’s Resurrection. Have you been noticing that you have a new normal? Feel free to share them in our comments below.
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