Monday, October 31, 2005

"Smiling so much"

A great weekend... Friday off... slept in, the whole bit. Finally some rest and relaxation with Krista after she finished her exams and before her clinicals start this week (today!). We were out every night last week [well... actually several of those nights Krista was at home studying while I was out doing various things], so it was great to just be at home and relax. After being awoken by reps. of the Watchtower Society on Saturday, we had a leisurely Saturday morning... then later I picked up Nelofer Pazira's new book A Bed of Red Flowers that Karen set aside for me at Greenwoods, as I'll be interviewing her for Beyond magazine. Krista's sister Annika stayed over at our place (just for fun) on Saturday night and we watched the movie Bewitched, which we quite enjoyed. Then we woke up an hour early 'cuz we'd forgotten about the "Fall-back" to standard time. So an extra hour to chill out on a Sunday. Nice to have the time. Made butter chicken for the big shin-dig at Fr. Phillip and Barbara's (a.k.a. "Mom and Dad" - still working on that one) last night. Over thirty 'young adults' from St. Herman's came, and it was great. Good talks with Alexei and several others I'm just getting to know, or getting to know better. We feasted and sang and prayed and played Kaisar (like Rook but with normal cards). Krista's godmother Hazel was even in town and surprised us with a beautiful ceramic pitcher and plate. A good time was had by all. And when we left at 10:30, there was still a house full.


A couple of years ago now, I was visiting with Fr. Vasili Kolega, who usually serves the parishes out in the countryside around Edmonton, but occasionally (to our delight) appears at St. Herman's. Fr. Vasili was mentioning to me that he had seen a documentary on TV that was discussing the old conspiracy theory that the moon landing was a hoax, filmed on a Hollywood soundstage. He couldn't believe that people would even be slightly suspicious! Fr. Vasili said to me, in his sweet Ukrainian accent, "I couldn't believe it, I was smiling so much." Ever since then, this has become a sort of in-house code for something that makes us laugh. Krista and I say it sometimes just for fun. Another really beautiful thing that Fr. Vasili says, when we come to him for Communion, is, after the normal prayer, "God bless you, thank you so much!" He thanks us! It's really humbling and hospitable and generous. Once you meet him, it is hard not to think of Fr. Vasili without a great deal of warmth and affection.

Anyway, there are times in Orthodox services when I cannot help but smile. For instance, last week our Church served the Akathist Hymn To Our Sweetest Lord Jesus. And there is this line in it that almost cracked me up right there in Church. "We behold the most eloquent orators silent as fish before You, O Jesus our Saviour, for they are at a loss to explain how You are both perfect man and immutable God." I thought, well, yes, fish are silent. But I'd never really thought of them as sort of models of silence, as in, like, hesychia. Beautiful.

Digression #2

Krista and I were thinking about getting those orange-and-black Halloween candies (the kind no kid likes) as a sort of gag treat... and then, just when the kid looks all forlorn for being so treated, we'll give them something good.... haven't decided yet. Ah!

Peace for now.


Blogger hendricks said...

Giving those orange and black 'candies' would truly be taking the mic(k?) (I never know how to spell this one). I remember whispering nasty things under my breath to the people who gave out those things. Remember trying to trade them the next day? Anyways, I think it's a brilliant idea! Happy Halloween!

11:31 AM  
Blogger kimberley said...

you two are a micheivious combination.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

The Christmas I was in Manchester, Mrs. Brower had this book of sayings, and it had the origins of all those pot-shot phrases. We all know the more crass version of "taking the Mick," but I guess there was also a smart-alecky version... "extracting the Michael." Don't know what that's about...

Is Soren dressing up?

12:06 PM  
Blogger Krista said...

Fr. Vasili, yup! a truly great person....humbling to be around.

I'm just heading out to buy some candy.....let us see what I can muster up...heh! heh! hoo! ha! heeeee!!! :)

1:27 PM  
Blogger Simply Victoria said...

that was a good read.
silent as fish. yup, I will use that for my sunday school kids, and now I even have a good reference if they question it! lol.

i remember receiving the odd toothbrush in my treat bag.
a truly nasty trick.
you might consider it...:)

3:46 PM  
Blogger RW said...

Hey. We just checked Luke's candy and not only was there a toothbrush but an evangelical Christian tract!

8:45 PM  
Blogger James said...

I remember people making us sing for candy on Halloween. (My wife thinks this must be a Canadian thing.) Mandatory song for crappy treats, wouldn't that be an insult?

We were thinking about handing out dried chickpeas. Or, come in, and we can make you some toast.

6:40 AM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

Well, Forrest Gump was right, Ramone, you never know what you're going to get!

Mmm.... toast. Sounds good to me. Perhaps some wasabe peas (they come in snack size bags) would make a good trick-or-treat?

9:56 AM  
Blogger hendricks said...

Hey Matt, this probably should be an e-mail instead of a comment, but:

How did you guys get two 'contributors' for your profile. Sara and I would like to do the same. PS. Soren dressed up as Superman - pics to come on our blog soon. We'll be in touch.

8:37 PM  
Blogger Tamara said...

Dudes.... you always say Fr. at the beginning of some names... and i just don't know what that means.... i'm guessing... Father? Maybe you could explain to me?

Also... take a look on my blog to see us trick or treating! IT was great fun!

8:03 AM  
Blogger Tamara said...

Oh I know! It means Friar.?

8:55 AM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

Hey Tamara... you were right. "Fr." is short for "Father."

9:26 AM  
Blogger Browler said...

Fish are silent? No sure about that one. Silent to us, maybe. But don't they talk to one another? We all know about Dolphins and Whales... but I think even the SW Alberta Cutthroat do, too, don't they?

Anyway... I especially like the Thomas poem.

As for Holloween... First question -- do Americans celebrate it too, or is it specifically Canadian? Second question: I remember in Canada always being told to beware razor blades in apples, pins in sweets, etc, etc.

Has this EVER happened? I doubt it. It makes me very mad that my childhood was spoiled by that paranoia. Aargh.

ps for those interested, the word verification this time is: ldkgp.

I would like to know if anyone has yet had a word that is a real word.

10:49 PM  
Blogger seraphim/seattle said...

fish. hesychia. i like this. really.

)( s

12:38 AM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

I know, it's totally ridiculous about the razer blades in the apples!

That said, I'm pretty sure that the Americans also do trick or treating and stuff on Halloween.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

(I'll call you Sky as there's another Seraphim from St. Herman's in Langley). You would have a deeper appreciation of the stillness and silence of the fish, since you stalk them so skillfully as a fly-fisherman!

10:51 AM  
Blogger Sheri Eyre said...

Taking the mic(k) or extracting the Micheal-
Micheal is another word for pee,piss, urine -"taking the piss" extracting the unrine -see?

1:49 PM  

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