It’s been one year since I opened up this little space of my own. One year since I took that first step to start to share my world. Even with the initial step taken, I’ve managed to mostly hover in the same space for a year. You see, I had a reason for joining the world of blogging, a goal and I’ve yet to even share it with you. I’ve wrapped it up good and tight waiting for the day when I feel ready, I don’t want to release it because it’s safe right now, if it’s just an idea, it can’t fail. But I’m slowly realizing that I’ll never feel ready because my goal isn’t a destination. It’s the journey I want to share with you and it’s already started. It started 2 years ago when I realized Kevin was the man I was going to marry. It matters because in choosing to marry Kevin, I was not only choosing a husband but I was choosing a life completely different than the one I had envisioned.
When I met Kevin, he was leaning heavily towards joining a monastery as a novice. In his mind there were only two choices, the priesthood or monasticism. Shortly after getting to know him, he made it clear that if I chose a life with him, I was choosing the life of a clergy wife. During our courtship Kevin was ordained into the first order of the Priesthood, a Reader.
A reader, also called a Lector, Cantor, or Psalti, the Reader is the first order comprising participation in the Priesthood of Christ, and the second-highest of the minor orders of the Orthodox Church. It is a sub-clerical order to which a man is tonsured and ordained, setting him apart as blessed by the bishop to read in services and in the Divine Liturgy
Shortly after our Engagement and my deeper realization of the commitment made in choosing the life of a clergy wife, I set out to find other young clergy wives. Women closer to my age, a companion to experience the struggles together. With Orthodox churches quite scarce in my area I was hoping to find some young clergy wives online. I did find a few and hope to connect more with them in the future but I feel like my search came up short, likely due to my lack of searching skills. I don’t imagine I can be the only one out there searching for other clergy wives. This leads us to my main reason for joining the blog world. If my blogging about our experiences of orthodoxy, ordination, the priesthood, and family life could help another young clergy wife, then I want to do it. Up to this point, I’ve shared very little. I’ve hardly open up my life to you at all. It’s fear that’s holding me back. Fear of being watched, fear of failure, fear of being uninteresting. It’s beginning to dawn on me that whether I like it or not, by choosing Kevin I chose the life of being watched, perhaps not placing my life on the internet like an open book but as a Clergy family we will be watched. It frightens me, knowing that I will fail many times on this journey and people will be watching but Kevin often quiets my fears by reminding me that our youth is not always a bad thing. In this case it gives us a lot of time to get it right. Every priest and every Matushka make mistakes. We will not be perfect but it’s in our shortcomings as well as our successes that we will learn. I’d like to share this journey with you, not just the good and glamorous but the hard and mundane stuff too. So that together we can learn.
The priest’s family is the model for the whole parish. This fact can place a great deal of stress on the wife and children, but this is not necessarily inevitable if the atmosphere within the family is wisely shaped by the initiative of the head of the family. There is a tendency among priests’ wives and children to reject their role as models, but the fact remains that the average church member sees them as such. A very great danger to all Christians, individuals, families and priests’ families, is a fear of being different and a desire to be just like everybody else. Some go to great lengths to demonstrate their “averageness,” their normality. Conformity with society’s standards and prevailing trends cannot be the goals the priest sets for his own family and particularly for his own children, but, obviously, the priest’s family should not seek to be different for the sake of being different; they must, however, if following Christ and His Gospel demand it.