I was fortunate enough to find a local coffee shop that has free wireless access, and my wife was fortunate enough to have a friend give her an old lap-top. A happy bit of providence that has allowed me to spend several mornings this week applying for jobs while sipping a nice, hot cup of joe. So far, no responses on the job search, but I re-wrote my resume and cover letter, so I'm hopeful that the latest broadcast will turn up some results.
I've been doing some extensive home-improvement projects over the last 2 weeks - new trim & paint in one of the bedrooms, constructed closet doors, painted the hall/stairs, replaced the kitchen floor and am getting ready for crown-molding and other trim in the dining room. We have some ancient paint - probably lead - on some of the trim in the dining room and applied some Ready-strip (as seen on TV) last night. Man, that stuff is awesome! After only an hour or so, some of the paint was literally dripping off the wall. I'm going home to scrape it all off in a few minutes, in preparation for the realtor coming over to have a look. Based on a phone conversation with her earlier this week, she seems to think we can sell our house for at least $10,000 more than what we paid for it in October. Its a combination of the market and the improvements we've made, and certainly isn't a bad turn-around on the investment. Hopefully she'll maintain the same rosy outlook when she sees it today.
I have, of course, lately had little time for in-depth reading and haven't had a chance to consider much beyond the immediate projects set before me. But I did have a chance last night to read a litle "For the Life of the World" by Fr Schmemann, and this quote jumped out at me:
The first act of the Christian life [just before baptism] is a renunciation, a challenge. No one can be Christ's until he has, first, faced evil, and then become ready to fight it. How far is this spirit from the way in which we often proclaim, or to use a more modern term, "sell" Christianity today!...One does not see very well where and how "fight" would fit into the weekly bulletin of a suburban parish, among all kinds of counseling sessions, bake sales, and "young adult" get togethers.
Where, indeed, would "fight" fit? Now, anyone who has even been casually acquainted with this blog over the last year or so knows that this is a critique that speaks directly to the church by which I was formerly employed. So I'm not going to talk about that; its well-worn ground and I'm honestly trying to put it behind me. To constantly talk about or dwell on that church's failings would be only to continually pick at the scab, starting to bleed all over again. No, its my own life, my own heart that I'm interested in.
And I realize, immediately, that I have not truly taken that stand to fight. I have not truly "renounced Satan, and all his Angels, and all his works, and all his services, and all his pride?" For instance, when I exploded at my wife yesterday because she made a harmless joke that wounded my fragile pride, where was my renunciation? When I have wallowed in bitterness and anger over being fired, or held onto a grudge against the leaders at my former church, where was my decision to fight? When I am faced with temptation, with my own failing, where is my resolution to do battle? It is lost in apathy, to be honest. I think it is a sensation that has dominated this last year; a feeling of swimming in molasses, of constantly battling a swift current and being exhausted by it. It is easier to go with the flow than to go against it, simpler by far to float instead of fight. But its end is destruction, dissolution and I want to be Christ's. I want to be holy, to be transformed, to throw off this entangling snare.
I renounce Satan, and all his Angels, and all his works.....