...are the ones that make the biggest difference

9.05.2005

Nil Sorsky on Temptation

So this weekend we went back to our house in Bloomington to pack up the remainder of our things and move them here to Fort Wayne. We got up early on Saturday and got on the road. We spent the majority of the day packing things up and moving things out into the garage so it'd be easier to load them directly onto the truck on Sunday. We had brought our TV with us when we first went out to Ft Wayne, leaving us entertainment-less at the house. So after grabbing a bite to eat at one of our favorite restaurants (a little Irish pub called "Maggie Miley's" - if you're ever in Normal, IL, eat there), we went to Borders for a little while. But we were tired after the day of moving and didn't stay too long. So we headed home and sat out on the porch talking - about the church we left, Orthodoxy, jobs, moving, the future, you name it. We've been busy of late, so it was the first time in a while we've had a chance to just talk without interruption - all I have to say is that I love my wife. It seems there are many who would dread several uninterrupted hours of conversation with their spouses - me, I enjoyed every minute of it.

Our time together was punctuated by a fireworks display over a golf course about 1/2 a block from our house. It was right about the time we were talking about some of the frustration and anger we still feel for the church, and as we watched this beautiful display, I felt like God was tapping me on the shoulder and saying "See, everything is going to be fine" - this also in response to my frustrating job search. Later that evening, I lay in bed reading an excerpt in Touchstone of the writings of a Russian saint named Nil Sorsky. One passage in particular stuck out to me - it was written in response to a young man's question about fear:

"When such thoughts occur, fight manfully so that they do not overcome you and make your heart resolute in a deep trust in God, saying the following: 'I have a God who is watching over me. Without his will, nobody can harm me in anything. Even if he allows something to happen to me which would make me suffer, I would not take that for evil, because I do not wish to make his will ineffective, because the Lord knows much more than I and wishes only my profit. So I am thankful for all because of his clemency.'"

I went to sleep thinking about this and praying about it.

And very quickly forgot all about it.

When we arrived at the U-Haul location bright and early Sunday morning, we were told our reservation had been transferred to another location. When we got to the other location, thankfully not to far away, we are told that 1) their computers are down, 2) they don't know how to do a manual contract and 3) it will take a long time to get on the phone with a company official to figure out how to remedy either one. After an (embarassingly) angry exchange, they took our number and said they'd call us back when they had something worked out. We got a call a few hours later, telling us that the first location had a truck for us. It was bigger than we had reserved, but they would give it to us at the original rate. So we get it, more than a little angry about the whole thing.

And as it turns out, the original truck would not have been anywhere near enough room to accomodate our stuff. We even had to leave some stuff behind for my in-laws to pick up when they're out that way later this week. If things had gone according to our plan, many more problems and delays would have unfolded during the course of the day. So I sit here chagrined over my childish antics, the frustration and anger that I let creep into my heart, even after seeing those fireworks and reading the words of that godly man. I can only shake my head and laugh at myself, because I truly am a fool. Maybe someday I'll finally figure out how to trust God!

10 comments:

Ephrem Christopher Walborn said...

Ha! I've been there... way too many times. U-Haul is about as much fun as a molten-lead enema. And the trucks seem to shrink after you bring them home.

I also want to say I appreciate your posts over at Jared Moore's and Jeff Wright's weblogs. I was a fool for engaging them in the first place, but it looks like you're handling it well.

My prayers are with you and your wife. Moving is never fun.

Ephrem Christopher Walborn

Nathan said...

ECW -

While I've never heard the phrase "molten-lead enema", I'd say it pretty accurately describes the weekend! But thankfully, mercifully, it's done, and once the house closes, we'll be able to shake the final bit of dust off our feet.

"I also want to say I appreciate your posts over at Jared Moore's and Jeff Wright's weblogs. I was a fool for engaging them in the first place, but it looks like you're handling it well."

Well, thank you, but I don't think you were a fool for engaging them and are certainly raising good points. Frankly, I think a little healthy debate is good for everyone now and again. Plus, if these guys are never challenged, their minds will never be opened to even the possibility that there are other, valid expressions of Christianity.

Ephrem Christopher Walborn said...

Molten-lead enema is a product of my own sickened mind. :)

I tend to agree that debate is useful... if both parties are open enough to be honest with themselves. Debate is one way that my best friends and I challenge each other. But I fear in cases where there is great rigidity, that it only increases, rather than lessens the walls of the tiny little boxes into which they've built themselves.

I tend to prefer a more personal approach. Though, when people meet over an idea, that can be quite difficult to establish. At least in this case, I've been given to understand that any personal correspondence will be in the pursuit of getting me converted.

Anonymous said...

I've been away for a few days and it looks like you've been busy on the blog here, Nathan. Wow, 40 comments on that post!

My wife and son and I moved into our new home this past weekend as well. Thankfully, we avoided the U-Haul disaster by employing my father in law and brother in law with their trucks. We did, however, rent some furniture pads from U-Haul, and while I was there at the office a fella came in to pick up his truck for an out of state move and was told that his reservation wasn't there in the system. He get angry, as you might imagine. He said he had called them just the day before and confirmed it with them. He gave them his reservation number and everything and nope, they just had no record of it at all. Ugh...

That's exactly the kind of molten lead enema I was so pleased to avoid this time around. It just seems like this happens every single time with U-Haul. It's happened every time I used them. Our last big interstate move we used a Budget Rental truck and it went much more smoothly.

I like the Nil Sorsky quote. I've not read any of him. Sounds worth looking into.

-Doug

Nathan said...

ECW -

"Molten-lead enema is a product of my own sickened mind."

And a delightful one at that! :)

"But I fear in cases where there is great rigidity, that it only increases, rather than lessens the walls of the tiny little boxes into which they've built themselves."

I've found this to be true more often than not as well. But I've also found that for everyone who posts to a debate, there usually several lurkers who are open to questioning & exploration. Sometimes I carry on only in the hopes of influencing those people.

"At least in this case, I've been given to understand that any personal correspondence will be in the pursuit of getting me converted."

You and your pagan, semi-papist, idol-worshipping Orthodoxy! :) One can only imagine what evangelism strategies they're cooking up for us, though there's still some hope for me - I'm not Orthodoxy yet.

Nathan said...

Doug -

"Wow, 40 comments on that post!"

Yeah, its a record for this blog. My traffic is way up! Who knew an off-hand joke could people so riled up?

"My wife and son and I moved into our new home this past weekend as well."

Congratulations on your new digs! Leaving our house this weekend for the final time was pretty hard, so I'm very envious right now. How much unpacking do you have to do?

"That's exactly the kind of molten lead enema I was so pleased to avoid this time around. It just seems like this happens every single time with U-Haul."

Family and/or friends are usually the best way to go. My brother was in Arizona visiting my folks, or he might have come out with his truck. But other than him, we didn't really have anyone else to call on and we certainly didn't wan to ask for help from anyone we knew from the church. The thing is, we've had no problems with U-haul in the past. When we moved out to Illinois, they got our car on the trailer and tied it down correctly for us. And when a tire blew late at night on the freeway, they had roadside assistance out there within an hour. I don't know what the deal was this time around.

"I like the Nil Sorsky quote. I've not read any of him. Sounds worth looking into."

Once I get a job and some disposable income, I'm looking at picking up the book Touchstone took the quote from.

Ephrem Christopher Walborn said...

"I've found this to be true more often than not as well. But I've also found that for everyone who posts to a debate, there usually several lurkers who are open to questioning & exploration. Sometimes I carry on only in the hopes of influencing those people."

That's true. Also, I figure, even despite the fact that people don't generally let their guards down during a debate, after it's over it's liable to catch up with them when they're trying to get to sleep. :) You never know what the results will be. I made an offhand remark to a lady once -- a friend of a friend, didn't really know her at all. I ran into her a couple years later and she tells me I changed her life. I was stunned! It seemed such a small thing.

But for me, I have to keep my temper in check. I get awfully testy.

Anonymous said...

We're largely moved in and unpacked now. Well, I take that back. There are a few more car trips worth of things at the old place, but these are the unnecessaries of life. We have all that is required for a fruitful existence moved and unpacked at present, including the whole catalog of my son's toys.

Hope you're able to secure a job and a new home in due time. With our move, the new job took six months. The new home took two years of living with the inlaws. :)

-Doug

Nathan said...

Ephrem -

I can get pretty worked up in this kind of thing, too. I once got into an online debate that kept me up at night because the other party made so mad! I've laid off them since then, but this one, thankfully, isn't getting under my skin.

Nathan said...

Doug -

My in-laws are nice, but I couldn't take being with them that long! Man, you are a saint in the making.