Last week the financial markets were overrun with volatility as GameStop stock shot up and then crashed. I talked about this in my last post sticks stones and stocks. I bemoaned the fact that I didn’t get in and make a ton of money while I had the chance. And then of course that hot stock bubble popped. I will admit that I let the excitement and thrill of potentially earning extra money distract me from my faith and from my true goal of a deeper relationship with Christ. It also didn’t help that I wasn’t able to attend Divine Liturgy last week. There was a covid exposure at church 2 weeks ago and we had to cancel church services to allow for quarantine. Thankfully we tested negative and even better, services will resume in the morning.
Money really isn’t what I want. I mean it’s nice and I do need it to help pay off my debts, but money isn’t everything. All the material goods in the world definitely won’t make me happy. In fact my wife and I have been actively getting rid of our excess stuff either by donation or by Facebook Marketplace. I feel like it’s been helping to free up our ability to do other things but I also still have a long way to go. We still have a lot of distractions and a lot of other things that get in the way of deepening our own spiritual lives.
I will admit I’ve been struggling. I’ve been struggling with what I call the pendulum. The pendulum is when my focus shifts from my relationship with God and ends up going in the opposite direction. I start getting sucked into video games and television shows and frivolous stuff of the world that sucks me in and away from Christ. The pendulum goes back and forth as I fight and try to keep my focus on Christ and his church.
I’m also struggling in regards to my job and my life and the different goals I have for myself and my family. On one hand as a truck driver I feel like I’m ready to shift into dispatching and working from the office. Emily and I have been talking about trying to get on in the Portland terminal as a dispatcher,, but if that’s not available then maybe trying for one of the openings in either Phoenix Arizona or Indianapolis or even Columbus Ohio. I could start off as a dispatcher and then make my way towards driver development manager or even operations manager. And then who knows maybe someday I can be a terminal manager. I personally want to try to get in with the terminal in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is a state that I really love, it is beautiful and green, it has Antiochian Village, and it has Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Seminary. Seminary however brings up the second side of my struggle.
While Trucking and working in the transportation industry could be a great career for the rest of my life, my heart deep down has other desires. I want to go to Seminary. I want to be an Orthodox Priest. It’s a calling that I felt all my life starting from when I was a little kid attending Catholic School. I thought about this for many years, especially after 2012 when I finally joined Orthodoxy. I’ve always been hesitant and wondering if I was worthy of it because of some things in my past. While we’ve never gotten divorced, we have attempted it, several times. Does that count? My relationship with my parents is good now but there was a time when we were estranged. Does that count against me? The biggest hurdle that I fear would prevent me from being ordained is the fact that I do have a child that is out of wedlock. She’s a brilliant girl, funny and intelligent and sensitive. And I am thankful that she is in the world. But because her mother and I never got married, would that count against me?
I’ve recently rediscovered John Michael Talbot. He’s a popular Roman Catholic musician that I remember my Dad listening to a lot when I was a kid. In my quest to find music that is still Christian and not influenced by pop, John Michael Talbot comes in as a breath of fresh air. A lot of his songs have really spoken to me, but there’s one song in particular that’s been on repeat. “Here I Am Lord”. It’s about hearing the call of Christ and answering.
Here I Am Lord, is it I Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go Lord, if you lead me, I will hold your people in my heart.
I know he’s not an Orthodox musician, however he has gravitated more in his recent years to Orthodox traditions in his music. He’s also friends with Abbott Tryohon of the All Merciful Saviour Orthodox Monastery on Vashon Island.
So I guess the question comes down to do I want to serve God and the church, or do I want to follow a career path? Do I want a comfy desk job or do I want to follow the difficult path that Christ sets before all who follow him?
I want nothing more than to deepen my faith in Christ and to build the spiritual Foundation that will allow me, if I am worthy, to be able to attend Seminary school. In some ways taking a desk job seems like an easy way out. It doesn’t come with the same spiritual struggles that the priesthood does. It also doesn’t provide as much service to Christ’s children.
Here I Am Lord. I don’t want the pendulum to swing anymore. I don’t want to be distracted by shiny trinkets of the world. I want to serve Christ and his church. The first step in doing this is being active and involved and a part of the community. I’m already working on that by going to church when I can, which is at least every Sunday. If I can hit a Saturday evening Vespers service will then I’m there as well. That’s not always the case however because of my work schedule. I have taken some days off at the end of February to go visit the all Merciful Savior orthodox monastery on Vashon Island in the Puget Sound. We’re also going to have our local priest come over on Sunday after liturgy and bless our apartment. I think I’m going to bring up my desire for Seminary with him and see what he says.
That’s where I’m at right now. Honestly that’s where I am a lot of the time. Here I Am Lord.
Thanks for reading my friends. I know lately I’ve only been posting once a week oh, I’m going to try the next couple days to get back on my old schedule of three posts a week. I hope you all are well. I hope you all are staying safe. I am so thankful to each and everyone in my readers credit you all have a productive and blessed weekend.
Until next time,
– Orthodox Trucker