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One Day at a Time April 24, 2009

Posted by Justin Farr in Uncategorized.
1 comment so far

What do you do with life? What do you make of it? How do you be everything, find the Kingdom of Heaven inside of you, the Kingdom here on Earth, and help the dying six-year old with cancer, and comfort the wrinkled with Alzheimer’s, and hold a grieving man in your arms because that’s really all he needs, and wipe the sweat off of a sick woman’s forehead, and give food to the hungry and clothes to the poor, and be a brother and a father and a husband and a son, and be a friend, and blow bubbles and play on swings and catch bugs, and love everyone with true intensity, and absorb the world into yourself and be absorbed into the world?

How do you do that?

The chrism is hardly dry. The water hasn’t quite finished evaporating. Two weeks ago I was baptized and chrismated into the Church. I participated in Holy Week, leading up to Christ’s holy and life-giving resurrection.

On Holy Wednesday, I received the Sacrament of Holy Unction. I was wearing white to signify my recent illumination, yet I had already transgressed and needed remission of sins.

Come Holy Thursday, I was the one betraying and crucifying my Savior. In bestowing His love, He never looked me over. In showering His followers with blessings, He never passed me by. When washing feet, Jesus never moved passed mine. Yet I sold God Himself for 30 pieces of silver. I drove the nails into His Flesh and I stabbed him with a spear.

Holy Friday, I mourned as I beheld the Tomb of Christ, though knowing I was the one who put Him in there.

Holy Saturday I beheld a union of love as my stepsister married. That night and into the early hours of Sunday, I celerbated Christ’s Holy and Life-giving Resurrection, triumphantly proclaiming, “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!” Hell cries out in agony as it is demolished and the gates of Hell are shattered; death loses its power, for Christ God has risen from the dead.

Every Friday at my school the Marketing Department sells Otis Spunkmeyer cookies. Their warmth can be felt through the package, and they melt in your mouth. This was the last day this semester they were selling them (we only have 2 Fridays left). This was the last day of my entire high school career that I will eat one of those cookies. Soon, many “lasts” will come up. My last test, my last look around the school, the last time I drive away from the school, last time I see dozens of people in person, my last homework assignment…

I’ll be a legal adult in about 10 days.

That doesn’t mean anything.

I am not going to some fancy college for my grandparents and parents and aunts and uncles to brag about. The exclusive names that garner such vast amounts of reputation won’t escape my lips proudly when I am asked about my post-high school plans. I will continue getting bewildered looks when I speak the words, “I’m not going to college.”

I want to do something. I want to truly help people. Or do I? I am so selfish, I don’t even know. All I can think of is how I feel, or what I want.

I cry when people are hurt. Death irks me because it is unnatural. My heart leaps for joy when I behold a brief shimmer of dazzling light when two people help and are there for one another, and thus the love of God is exposed. I realize that every pain, every need, every want, every deep desire in our hearts, is our yearning for God. We are in an unnatural state in an unnatural, fallen place. We so desperately crave that perfection and love that fills all of us. That’s why we embrace one another in hugs, or smile when we see God in the breathtaking arrays of pinks and oranges of a sunset.

I don’t even know what I am saying. I probably don’t even make sense.

Everything is about God.

God is love.

Everything is about love.

I want to love. I want to truly love people and be there for everyone. I am doing nothing but sitting here on my lazy ass all day. I need to DO something. Take affirmative action and live life and help others. I need to do something meaningful and try to make the world the slightest bit better. I want to love everyone and be so passionate in that love that I feel like I am absorbed into everyone and everything and they in me, and we are all connected within God. I just… I want to do something that means something

So how do you deal with life, and find the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, and love everyone, and be happy, and be all that I need to be, and do everything, and be everything? How do you do that?

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all else shall be added unto you.

You trust that God is good, you seek Him, and you do it one day at a time.


The Most Important Day of My Life April 11, 2009

Posted by Justin Farr in The Journey.
1 comment so far

By means of Lazarus has Christ already plundered you, O death. Where is your victory, O Hades? For the lament of Bethany is handed over now to you. Let us all wave against it our branches of victory.

Today was the most important day of my life.

Today, I was received into God’s Holy Church.

Today, I was baptized in Christ and put on Christ.

Today, I was chrismated, receiving the seal of the Holy Spirit.

Today, I was adorned with a cross that I will wear into my grave.

Today, I felt loved.

Today, I took on as patrons Saints Cyprian and Justina, glorious martyrs.

Today, I received Communion. I ate the Body of God and drank His Precious Blood.

Today was my wedding day. My Bridegroom was Christ our God.

Today was the most important day of my life.

I cannot even begin to describe my joy today. I was at church for over 6 hours . It began with my life confession. I had to confess the serious tribulations I have faced this past week or so in preparation for Holy Baptism. I was so close to coming into the Church, and likewise so very close to abandoning all of it. I cursed and wept and mourned. Never underestimate the craftiness of the Devil. He will employ everything to ensnare you, to keep you from being received into God’s Church. The closer you get, the harder he fights. God have mercy on me for this past week. If I did not have people that loved me to shove me along, I would not have made it. Which, apparently, is fine. When I confessed this, Father Stephen said something along the lines of, “That’s alright. Some come kicking and screaming.” Boy, did that describe me!

But here I am, a member of Christ’s Church. The multitude of joys I experienced today cannot be fully detailed. From the time people started pouring in the church, a smile plastered my face. The entire service I couldn’t help but to grin from ear to ear.

I never thought I would make it. I can’t believe I am here. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was sneaking on foot to the services at the Greek Orthodox church nearby. The first time I went inside that church, I cried, thanking God for allowing me such an opportunity. I wept tears of joy, and I was in utter awe of the beauty of God’s house. Mama found out, but eventually started to let me go to church there. Then I got a car, and drove secretly with my friend Kaleigh to St. Anne’s in Oak Ridge for the first time. Mom started letting me go there, too, thank God. Before I knew it, I was a catechumen, talking to Father Justin at 10 o’clock at night at the McDonald’s as I crawled along the narrow road, taking two steps forward and one step back. In a flash he leaves for Kansas City. Things continued to degrade. Next thing I know, I am a member of Christ’s Holy Church.

Where does time go? I can’t believe it.

Some family came. Mama, David, my sister Daria, Nana, Uncle Will and Uncle Allen. Video was recorded and many photos were taken. They came to support me, and that made me smile all the wider. One touching moment during the service, when Father Stephen was blessing the baptismal waters, mom and I made eye contact. “I love you,” she mouthed, smiling sincerely. She looked so proud of me, and it touched my heart. “I love you, too,” I mouthed back, and smile.

I saw friends received into the Church. I plunged down three times in the waters, baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity. I was granted the seal of the Holy Spirit through chrism. That smell stayed with me most of the day. It is distinctive smell I will never forget. The scent and the oil itself goes back to the Apostles. It amazes me to think that I was received into the Church with the same oil that was used on the greatest of saints.

Family came. Friends surrounded me. I would look up now and again and make eye contact with them, and they would smile. The kind of smile that says, “I am so happy to be here and watch you do this.” My new godfather, Clem, stood beside me and supported me. He held my candle, symbolizing the light of Christ God. He urged me along. He placed my new cross around my neck. Clem also followed behind me in the procession three times around the horse trough that I was baptized in. I died and was raised again in Christ’s resurrection, through the waters of baptism, just like Lazarus was raised by Christ. When he was first brought back to life, however, he was still bound in the wraps. He probably needed people to help him along. Similarly, Clem and Father Stephen are there for me. One in front, one in back, ready to catch me if I fall as I try to fully accept the risen life that Christ our God has given me.

I still can hardly believe this has happened.

I stood by my godfather and friends, surrounded by parishioners who love me, as I worshiped God in the following Divine Liturgy. Finally, I approached the Chalice containing the Body and Blood of our God and Savior. I received Communion. I felt complete. Whole. Everything made sense. The voids inside my heart were filled as I intimately received God in a way unimaginable.

The day has been filled with joy. I never want to forget it. I never want to forget the encouragement. The support. The smiles. The hugs. The smells.  Even the laughs. Apparently I “baptized” several people nearby when I was getting out of the baptismal font and slung water everywhere!! Hah. It was such a great day…

Why did I feel lonely? Why did I feel unloved? I am always loved, and I am never alone. I truly realized this today as people surrounded me, as angels crowded around us inside of the church, as God descended down upon us. I married God today. I received God today. I put on God today.

My joy is inexpressible. I keep trying to write it all out, and to speak of the immense love I find in my heart. But all I can do is smile and know that that says everything I need to say.

Today was the most important and beautiful day of my life. Glory to God!

Not Prepared April 5, 2009

Posted by Justin Farr in Ramblings, The Journey.

I’m laying here in bed. It’s 77 degrees outside, and the warm breeze is pouring in through my open windows. I can’t do anything but ask myself… something. The question is too big to put into a few words. A sentence. It’s not something that can be condensed. You can’t point to it and say, “Yes. There’s the question. Now, can someone answer it for me?” Life doesn’t work like that.

I don’t want to be 18. I don’t want to graduate. I don’t want my friends dispersing across the country. I don’t want my life to drastically do a 180. I don’t want a finger that will forever feel incomplete without a ring. I don’t want to sleep with my dog at night because I’m afraid that no one else will ever be there. I don’t want this. I don’t want to be driving, working, doing things on my own. I want to be a kid again, blonde hair ruffled by the winds as I run around and the sun caresses my face. I want to roll around on the grass, jump out of swings, catch lightning bugs in the evenings, be on the constant hunt for snakes, toads, bugs. I want to have this dainty view of the world, thinking that everything will be alright in the end, and that life isn’t so bad.

Why the hell is it that, for 18 years, you are raised by parents and family members and teachers, and they don’t teach you a damn thing? Sure, I can find the value of x. I can do my laundry and wash dishes. I can change my oil. I know what a noun is, and where other grammar parts go in a sentence. I can drive. I can be polite at the dinner table, and I can make conversation. All of that means nothing. Why aren’t we educated with something that matters? Why do you have to suddenly wake up one morning, unprepared by all the adults in your life, to realize that you don’t know anything, and that life is nothing like what you’ve been raised to believe? And you say to yourself, “Wait a second. Hold up. Stop the train. What the hell happened?” When you ask yourself where your life went. Ask yourself, “Where did it all go?” When you wonder why things aren’t turning out the way you planned. When you wonder why life hurts so much, and why is it that things can’t just… be alright? And you wonder, “Why wasn’t I taught how to cope with all of this? Why wasn’t I taught something that was actually worth learning?”

I’m not prepared for this. Any of this. This sudden rush of change that is hitting me like a wave and forcing me under, praying for air to save me from dying. Or a hand to pull me out…

But then… Then, there’s the times when you have fun. You dance with friends, and you are merry. You never want it to end. It’s fun. It’s liberating. You want it to last forever. To dance on into the night. Then it’s over, and you back to life. Which is fine, you’re told. “You’ll have other experiences like this. Other fun times. You have your whole life ahead of you to be happy,” they say. Which is true, unless God is calling you elsewhere.

When I don’t feel like I am drowning, when I don’t feel angry at everyone who has failed to prepare me for the reality of life, I am having fun and enjoying life. I don’t WANT to sacrifice myself, my happiness, and my freedom. I don’t want to sacrifice myself for God and for the rest of the world, so I can live a life of prayer. I mean, I do, but all too often I don’t. I don’t want to die. I don’t want to sacrifice myself. That’s such CRAP.

I don’t even… know. I’m not prepared for any of this. For growing up, for graduating, for starting a huge new chapter in my life, for being baptized in 6 days.

I’m not prepared for life.