I do my venting and whining behind private seals, because I want to be able to go back and remove it later when sanity returns.
I'm not a girl. I'm not even young. I'm not a grandmother, but I am a woman of middle years. I can't claim that anything I tell you about myself is going to be of any particular use to you, or even of interest but I am going to tell you something that is terribly important.
I am not what I was.
You see I was a pagan, a witch. For ten years, I was a very devout and passionate pagan, and I turned my back on the Methodism I grew up with, and the values my parents held. I got married but I acknowledged that I was not certain about my sexual identity. I went through therapy. I experimented sexually in my teens, but I haven't since before I got married. I've never tried drugs, though I've gotten drunk once or twice to see if it actually did anything more than make me sweaty, and silly.
I joined a coven, became a priestess, worked with the High Priest, and was happy, I thought, though I never stopped searching. Trying to find the missing pieces of myself. I was always looking for something to fill in the holes, and ever since I was a child, the thing that was easiest to find to caulk up those holes was food.
I grew up believing I was a daughter, a sister, and a project that my doctors were working on, maybe for some kind of medical science fair, to be held on my fiftieth birthday, where maybe I'd figure in a diarama, with plaques, and audio tapes that explained various important points.
I rocked along, through friendships, and my slowly dissolving marriage, came up against a fibroid tumor and a nearly-mortal illness, and I kept looking. Yoga, and Sufism, and all sorts of different things, always searching for some way that made *sense*. Something besides food to make me whole.
I found Orthodoxy via the reference of a dear friend. She pointed me toward Logospilgrim with the simple comment that she admired anyone who could live what they believed. It was magic to my ears. Food for my soul. I went and read the website, got her reading list, and started to read.
And read. And read and read. And thought and thought and thought. This wasn't easy. I had made promises. I'd sworn oaths. I'd burned a lot of bridges. But it was like a stone, pressing down, like a cider press, grinding away. I could no more have escaped than I could have become the magical person I pretended I was, and turned myself into a bee. It was changing me and I could either fight it every step of the way, or stop fighting.
Love isn't always gentle. Sometimes it's inexorable.
I am a catechumen. Father believes in being careful in whom he admits into the Church. I respect the opinion of a man who has sworn to defend and protect the sacraments with his life. If he says that I am not yet ready, then I am not yet ready. But I can tell you now. Here and now. That the Orthodox Church *is* the truth. That in finding Christ trampling down death by death, a Christ who in his utter and absolute humility is still victorious.. I have found where I belong.
There are going to be days when I wonder what the *hell* I was thinking. There are days when, like today, I'll wonder if I'll ever make it. And there are going to be days when I'll probably doubt that the conclusions that I came to were the right ones. But doubts don't last. The truth is the truth.
The Church acknowledges Christ's salvation, but it also says that I must *cooperate* with that salvation. I can choose Christ, but I can also choose to turn away. I have to *keep choosing* this way. I can walk in the footsteps of the saints and the apostles, but no one is going to force me to go, and no one will protest if I do not. They have their own salvations to worry about. Just as I cannot judge someone else's path. I have to work at mine.
That brings me at last to what I want to tell you. Whoever you are. This is my message in a bottle. It doesn't matter what you are now. Before the world was made. Before the least and smallest particle of existence was, God knew that you would be. He made you as you are. He gave you *everything* you have, because He loved you.
You might have done some terrible things. I have. I am one of the worst of the worst, and I know it. I am a beginner, the one who knocks over the floral arrangements, and bumps into the icon stands and gets my foot stuck under the icon and runs over Father's foot. I am probably the least sheep-ly of the sheep and the most goat-ish of the flock. *But I know that I am still made in God's image.* And so are you.
Mistakes, and misery and being too afraid to go to sleep at night is not your destiny. You have a choice. Maybe your past is full of things you didn't choose, and you still bear the scars. I can understand that. But that isn't all that you are. And you're not alone. He loved you enough to make you and He loved you enough to die for you, so that you could be whole.
It's up to you. I'm going to post this now, before I have second thoughts. I won't post anything like it again. I'm not a preacher. I couldn't teach my way out of a wet paper sack, and I have neither permission nor blessing for it. If you want to know more, I can suggest you talk to a priest. Just please, who ever you are, don't let the unhappiness and the depression and the shame win. Not without at least seeing for yourself if this is the way home.