I was hopefully looking forward to at least attending one of the Liturgies of Bright Week. Any weekday Liturgies are a little shorter (and less populated) than Sunday liturgies. During Bright Week, the Beautiful Doors remain open, the Deacon Doors remain open, the Curtains are open, all the lights are on, At the end of the Liturgy, the is a procession with banners, around the Church, stopping at each of the four corners to read the Gospel – to proclaim the Gospel to each of the 4 Corners of the Earth. While I would not be able to take part in the procession, the Liturgy would be marvelous – such a balm, such a medicine to my soul!
But am unable to go. On Tuesday I developed shingles on the right side of my waist toward my back, and I cannot put my back braces on. I can’t even wear anything with a waistband. I can hardly sit in my chair or lie in bed. Shingles hurts! And it itches, but I don’t dare scratch! If I touch the area, it hurts, aches, and burns and prickles (actually, prickles is too trivial a word for the sensation, but I don’t know what other one to use) – and the sensations persevere for several minutes after any touch. Continuous touch doesn’t mean the sensations decrease – rather, the discomfort (discomfort? AGONY!) increases the entire time the area is being touched by anything. Spraying the area with Benzocaine or similar products doesn’t help. I’ve had this before, and it just has to “run it’s course.”
Yes – I’m taking an antiviral medication. Yes – I started it early. But it still has to run it’s course. 10 days to 2 weeks. No, I’m not “contagious.”
So Bright Week is being spent as Great Lent was spent – and Holy Week was spent and Pascha was spent – watching bits and pieces of Liturgies on Youtube, and listening to CDs. Searching the internet for [octires pf Icons and the interiors of Churches.
From time to time I have a “pity party,” but most of the time I am grateful – I am blessed that I live in an age when the technology is here to allow me – and others – who are shut-ins to at least have bits and pieces of the Feasts and Fasts of the Church. I have to say, however, that I wish one – or more – of the Russian Churches would have a live streaming video of their services on the Web and maintain an archive for a few weeks for those who can’t “be there” live. There is a real need for this kind of outreach ministry. It wouldn’t be the same as “being there,” of course, but it would be even better than CDs. (Not that CDs are not needed!)
To say that I’m disappointed is an understatement. Crushed is more like it. But God is Good, and I’ll get over my paltry emotional reaction. And I will try to remember the words of the Akathist Hymn – Glory to God for All Things:
Into the world I was born as a weak, helpless child, but Thy Angel spread wings of light over me, guarding my crib. Ever since then Thy love lights all my paths, wonderfully guiding me towards the light of eternity. Gloriously, the generous gifts of Thy Providence have been manifest from the very first day. I am thankful to Thee and with all who have come to know Thee, call out:
Glory to Thee, Who called me to life,
Glory to Thee, Who hast shown me the beauty of the universe,
Glory to Thee, Who hast opened before me the sky and the earth as an eternal book of wisdom,
Glory to the eternity of Thee, in the midst of the world of time,
Glory to Thee, for Thy hidden and evident goodness,
Glory to Thee, for every sigh of my sadness,
Glory to Thee, for every step of my life, for every moment of joy,
Glory to Thee, O God, unto the ages of ages.
I am blessed – blessed beyond my understanding. I simply MUST learn to recognize my blessings in all my days and all my hours and all my minutes.