If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains, you are lucky enough.

When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Seeking Gratitude

There are two places on this side of the Earth where I can, quite literally, feel like a Divine Grace (Благодать Божья) descend upon me: high in the mountains as the sun rises, and inside Russian Orthodox Church. To my delight, Larry had stumbled on the existence of one not only in Springs itself, but really close to our home.
At the beginning of November I was standing through the liturgy of the service, probably one of a handful of times I ever made it. Indeed, Orthodox service is long, but oh, so beautiful. The singing of the choir for Holy liturgy is like Angels speaking from above. I cried, not the tears of sorrow, or joy, but the tears of my soul being touched.
Say what you will, Russia is not the last 70 years of 20th century everyone here despises so. It is over 1200 years of history, from 862, which adopted Christianity in 988, and from there on, Russian culture and Orthodox faith are two inseparable entities. We don't have to be "religious". It's in our blood, part of being.
And whether I stand on top of the mountain, alone, or walk into a Church, alone, it's there where I never feel lonely, where all the outside, normal, world with its worries, disappears, and I am given hope, not sure what for, and it's not even important. It's an eternal hope, however rarely I get to experience.

"The thing about hiking PCT...profound yet simple, was how few choices I had and how often I had to do the thing I least wanted to do. How there was no escape or denial. No numbing it down with a martini or covering it up with a roll in the hay...There were only two [option], and they were essentially the same. I could go back in the direction I had come from, or I could go forward in the direction I intended to go. The bull (the problem) could be in either direction...I could only choose between the bull that would take me back and the bull that would take me forward". Wild, by Cheryl Strayed.

This was a passage speaking to my heart. So, it is with high expectations I purchased tickets to a local performance theater for same author's another book's adaptation, "Tiny Beautiful Things". And it did not disappoint. Four actors (on a stage set at the Art Museum) spoke aloud letters from real readers to Sugar, a writer who wrote them back. I cried, pretty much, half of that play. Some hard life has been lived behind, and is still being in developing, and while all social media, even this blog, mostly portray all the good things, I, still, have so much absolutely heart-breaking experiences...and there's no end on sight. As they say, "life is a struggle, and then you die". Pretty dark, isn't it? Or, contemplating. Look on the bright side, seek it out...
And so I did. I did have plenty of good things. A friend from Austin flew to visit. We were not very close back in Texas, however, just like that, she promised to come - and she did. Thank you. It was so amazing to share my new home with her - and fall in love with it deeper. We live in such a great place! Three days was barely enough to scratch the ground. Incline and the city of Manitou, hike on Section 16 on cold morning, and Pioneers Museum, downtown and Fine Arts Museum (first time for her, wow!). Garden of the Gods, Pulpit Rock climb, Glen Eyrie castle. Walks, talks, Russian Church, Environmental Botanical center. I cooked Russian food. She bought lots of yarn so I can knit for her (and a tad for me). It was a good time, and it flew by in a blink of an eye.

Janice caught a good spell of the weather, because November really showed us, new transplants to Colorado, what winter is all about here. It dumped snow so many times! And it was cold! But, having being on a lock-down in Texas, I, the true Russian, missed snow and winter, and it didn't phase me one bit. In fact, it brought me so much joy! I ran when I could, walked when it was nearly impossible (a foot of fresh snow on the streets and no plowing), we shoveled snow, drove new Subaru carefully, and opened a very early ski season! The snow is just such a pure thing, it makes soul hope that one can start from the fresh new white page. Every day, every minute. Eternal pure hope.

We had our bestest ever neighbors for dinner, and I cooked so much Russian traditional food, in a longest time everything I could to offer! They are amazing people, active, funny, and as far as neighbors go - I haven't had that since I moved to US. That's a high standard to reach, and Jess and Josh (and Shae) are right there.
As far as the house goes, Larry has been spending his free time in the attic, quite literally. Removing old garbage thrown around and left behind, sealing little crack, re-doing all the pipes exhausts, putting boards and mesh...and we haven't even come close to putting actual insulation. I feel bad he's got so much work to do up there, in the horrible dust, but my husband is a perfectionist, and he is doing it with love our last home deserves. One thing for sure, after all said and done, there'll be no errors found up there.
We also had purchased new blinds for every room in the house to replace old ugly stuff left to us. And then the Tree Removal company came to cut down a tree in the front of the house (ruining the curb), one behind between Blue Spruce (junk Poplar that cuts nutrients and light to our State trees) and one HUMONGOUS Poplar in the back with dead branches (the size of trees themselves) hanging over our garage and neighbor's house, plus it was shading our Apple tree. That was an ordeal! And it's not done quite yet, another day of cutting ahead. Guys did an amazing job though!

Of course, I knitted, though between the friends' stay and our ski trips, it's been slow. Plus, my fingers cracked a whole lot in this cold dry high altitude air, and the yarn I was using is very thin (I unraveled a huge poncho I made last year and wasn't using much) - with which I decided to use a pattern of tiny cables. Took me longish (2+ weeks), but I am happy with the outcome. I also made some gifts for my small office members and a friend.
And then, of course, there was Thanksgiving. As tradition goes, we drove to Oklahoma to see Larry's family. It's a longer drive then it used to be from Austin (11 hrs), but much lore uneventful. Lots of food was consumed, as always, and in 2 days too much sitting for me - but I did manage to get out for a run around local streets. I still gained 5 lbs, and I got my work cut out ahead. I, of course, barely participate in family's conversations - having not grown up around, so I spent my time knitting those gifts and I heard enough football (the TV was on the whole time) to last me until next trip. 😅😅😅

There were, of course, many a discussions about all their kids - from little Stella, youngest baby (and her being right there, a joy at her 18 months), to Harrison and Hayden and Taylor...all wonderful young adults doing fantastic and making their parents proud. And there was a lot of anxiety for me deep inside, tears I hid as I set and listened - and was thrilled for them all, especially, of course, Larry - yet it was not easy. What brings me right back to that "seeking joys in a dark place of life". I kept a gratitude journal last 2 weeks, to remind myself that there are things I am thankful for, and that I do deserve to go on and live life. And I prayed. Then I come home - and heard some news for that "dark side". May be not amazing news, but news, nevertheless. And in my life, this is as good as it gets.

1 comment:

Alma Millard said...

Ashlianne is going to Irkutsk for Maymester this summer for her last class for her Russian major (She will graduate with the English major in May). She wants to fly back Irkutsk to St. Petersburg by herself and spend the day exploring there before taking a train to Moscow early the next morning for her flight home. I wanted to ask you if think that's a safe plan. Pretty sure the train from St. Petersburg arrives to Leningradskly station and then she can walk under to Komsomol'skaya metro station and go to Belorussky station to catch the aeroexpress train to the airport. Does this sound feasible?

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