Sunday, June 14, 2015

Till death do us apart

Married or not you should read this...

“When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said, I’ve got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes.

Suddenly I didn’t know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce. I raised the topic calmly. She didn’t seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, why?

I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, you are not a man! That night, we didn’t talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; she had lost my heart to Jane. I didn’t love her anymore. I just pitied her!

With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company. She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said for I loved Jane so dearly. Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.

The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table. I didn’t have supper but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day with Jane. When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again.

In the morning she presented her divorce conditions: she didn’t want anything from me, but needed a month’s notice before the divorce. She requested that in that one month we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible. Her reasons were simple: our son had his exams in a month’s time and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.

This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day. She requested that every day for the month’s duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning. I thought she was going crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request.

I told Jane about my wife’s divorce conditions. . She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully.

My wife and I hadn’t had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding mommy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; don’t tell our son about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outside the door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.

On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn’t looked at this woman carefully for a long time. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.

On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me. On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn’t tell Jane about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.

She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily.

Suddenly it hit me… she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart. Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.

Our son came in at the moment and said, Dad, it’s time to carry mom out. To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day.

But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn’t noticed that our life lacked intimacy. I drove to office…. jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind…I walked upstairs. Jane opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Jane, I do not want the divorce anymore.

She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead. Do you have a fever? She said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry, Jane, I said, I won’t divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn’t value the details of our lives, not because we didn’t love each other anymore. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart. Jane seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away. At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote, I’ll carry you out every morning until death do us apart.

That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face, I run up stairs, only to find my wife in the bed -dead. My wife had been fighting CANCER for months and I was so busy with Jane to even notice. She knew that she would die soon and she wanted to save me from the whatever negative reaction from our son, in case we push through with the divorce.— At least, in the eyes of our son—- I’m a loving husband….

The small details of your lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, property, the money in the bank. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves.

So find time to be your spouse’s friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy. Do have a real happy marriage!

If you don’t share this, nothing will happen to you.

If you do, you just might save a marriage. Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

Repentance ( Elder Sergei of Vanves )


Elder Sergei was born in the Netherlands in 1903. Most of his life was spent in France. His is a spiritual Child of Igumen Chariton the last abbot of Valaam before it was closed by the Communists. He spent his life in a country where there were few Orthodox Christians. His views are most helpful as he spent most of his life counseling spiritual children who lived in our secular Western society.

He taught that repentance was the “beginning, middle, and end of spiritual life.” He distinguished between two kinds of repentance: a) for a specific sin, b) for a general sinful state.

The first kind is most vital. he writes:

“There are three stage towards repentance for specific sins. 1) Repenting of the sin in your mind as soon as it is committed. 2) At the end of the day, when you are doing your examination of conscience, recall the sin and ask God for forgiveness again. 3) Confess the sin and repenting of it when you receive the sacrament of Confession.”
The first stage allows us to obtain forgiveness from God when dealing with our lesser sins and impure thoughts. He says,
“If you have wicked thought and repent it by desiring to think and act otherwise, this sin is erased immediately.”
Elder Sergei put great emphasis on the second stage. We need to make sure to set aside the time to concentrate on repentance at the end of each day. At this time we should undertake a spiritual critique of all that we did during the day reviewing both the evil as well as the good we have not done. After this examination of our conscience we then seek forgiveness from God with sincerity and contrition for all the ways we have been unfaithful to Him. He says,
“We must have a sharp conscience, so that every night we can examine ourselves and what we did during the course of the day and see what we did wrong, what good we failed to do, and what we did poorly. then, we should ask God’s forgiveness for all these things.”“Always keep repenting, not because you have necessarily done something, but because our nature is weak. We must repent for what we are. When we repent, we must consider not just what we have cone wrong, but all the good we have failed to do.”
The third stage, confession before God in the front of a priest, is imperative as it “allows us to avoid remaining psychologically and spiritually burdened by the sins we have committed in the past.”

The second kind of repentance involves our ongoing character. There are many sins were are unaware of. They have become part of our nature. In Confession we must ask God: “Forgive me my sins which I do not know, for all my unconscious sins.” He writes:

” We must also repent of all our failures and insufficiencies. We should not allow ourselves any excuses as there are no external circumstances that can justify our weaknesses.”
Repentance is necessary fro everyone as there is no one without sin. Whoever does not think they are sinful is living in delusion. Repentance is an “inner stance” of the fear of God, remembrance of death, and above all, humility. It is “the key to the spiritual life.” He advises:
“God prefers someone who sins and repents for it to someone who think that he never sins and never repents.”
For those who have not repented in a long time they must ask God for forgiveness for their lack of repentance. God knows our sinful struggle, our condition of mortality, and is forgiving with infinite mercy for those who continually repent. Elder Sergei writes:
“Our attitude towards the Kingdom of Heaven should be like that of a traveler who must not become panicked about all the things he has to do once he arrives at his destination, but must continue on, planning for his current journey. We must realize that we do not know when the train will come that will take us to the Kingdom. to be ready when it comes, we should be like the wise virgins and always have oil in our lamps.”“We must never believe that our sinful state is beyond repair. We must be confident that there is always forgiveness for us. All we need to do to be forgiven is to ask.”
According to Elder Sergei, “repentance as a permanent state is the normal state of the Christian, and is the state of all the saints. We must then strive toward this goal with all our might and all our prayer. It will then reveal itself to us as a might force of spiritual progress. He says,
“Repentance is the key to spiritual life. It allows us to have the wedding garment without which we are cast out of he wedding feast.”

Reference: Elder Sergei of Vanves: Life and Teachings, pp 29-34

Της πνευματικής ζωής τα μυστικά ( Άγιος Παΐσιος )

 Αν καταλάβει κανείς τα μυστικά της πνευματικής ζωής και τον μυστικό τρόπο με τον οποίο εργάζεται ο Θεός, παύει να στεναχωριέται για ό,τι του συμβαίνει, γιατί δέχεται με χαρά τα πικρά φάρμακα που του δίνει ο Θεός για την υγεία της ψυχής του. Όλα τα θεωρεί αποτελέσματα της προσευχής του, αφού ζητάει συνέχεια από τον Θεό να του λευκάνει την ψυχή.

Όταν όμως οι άνθρωποι αντιμετωπίζουν τις δοκιμασίες κοσμικά, βασανίζονται. Αφού ο Θεός όλους μας παρακολουθεί, πρέπει να παραδίνεται κανείς εν λευκώ σ' Αυτόν. Αλλιώς είναι βάσανο" ζητάει να του έρθουν όλα, όπως εκείνος θέλει, αλλά δεν του έρχονται όλα όπως τα θέλει, και ανάπαυση δε βρίσκει.

Εξαρτάται από το πως αντιμετωπίζει κανείς τις δοκιμασίες. Όσοι δεν έχουν καλή διάθεση, βρίζουν τον Θεό, όταν τους βρίσκουν διάφορες δοκιμασίες. «Γιατί να το πάθω εγώ αυτό; Λένε. Να, ο άλλος έχει τόσα καλά! Θεός είναι αυτός;» Δεν λένε «ήμαρτον», αλλά βασανίζονται.

Ενώ οι φιλότιμοι λένε: «Δόξα τω Θεώ! Αυτή η δοκιμασία με έφερε κοντά στον Θεό. Ο Θεός για το καλό μου το έκανε». Και ενώ μπορεί πρώτα να μην πατούσαν καθόλου στην εκκλησία, μετά αρχίζουν να εκκλησιάζονται, να εξομολογούνται, να κοινωνούν.

Πολλές φορές μάλιστα ο Θεός τους πολύ σκληρούς τους φέρνει κάποια στιγμή με μια δοκιμασία σε τέτοιο φιλότιμο, που μόνοι τους παίρνουν μεγάλη στροφή και εξιλεώνονται με τον πόνο που νιώθουν για όσα έκαναν.

Άγιος Παΐσιος