Becoming a Pilgrim

…or, “Living in No-Man’s Land”

The Government owns, directly or indirectly, almost every scrap of my existence. My husband and I work for government-sponsored education facilities. The city in which we live is supported through a military base and all the cacophony of contracting firms. Former military retire here for some weird reason. Indian tribes. Lots of them. Did I mention Big Oil??

I have federal student loans totaling more than I earn in a year.

The most important things I actually own could probably fit into my small sedan car, including the cat and the husband. Yes, I own the car.

I have lived in 5 states and 10 addresses. Jeff can claim at least 3 state residencies (more, I am sure). When someone asks me where I am from…I choose the state where I lived the longest. I am really from Nowhere, USA.

Pondering these realities while trying to figure out what I need to do at work today…I realized that we really are pilgrims…in many ways.

I am reading The Way of a Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way, a quasi-autobiographical account of a man’s spiritual and physical journey around Russia. He carries with him a small knapsack with bread, the Bible, and the Philokalia, a compendium of Orthodox writings. He depends on the kindness of strangers & priests.

We have left the oft-confusing land of Protestantism. Its like getting a hall pass (remember those from public school?) from God. A little fun to wander around the building, but really we should get somewhere. But where?

The Orthodox Church is great…in theory….but so far away.

We want to be in the Life of the Church. How can that happen if the physical church is an hour’s drive from our home? How could we possibly feel connected with the “Fam”, if we can only see them twice or thrice a month?

If we go back to Protestantism, we will still feel alone. That is why we left. We are too weird. We don’t want to be alone!

We are out there…in the hall way….walking around….not feeling all that guilty, though a little lost.

Pray for us.


9 Responses to “Becoming a Pilgrim”

  1. 1 LisaM August 26, 2008 at 9:10 am

    Praying for you – passing you in the hallway…

  2. 2 Anna August 26, 2008 at 9:17 am

    Thanks, LisaM, dittoes and *waves*

  3. 3 michelle August 26, 2008 at 10:25 am

    I will certainly pray for you.

  4. 4 Kristen August 26, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    I just wanted to let you know, you can have a church family that far away.

    We drive 45-50 minutes to Calvary Chapel Chester Springs. They are our church family.

    People drive that distance to work all the time and what is most important God or some job?

    If it is a good place to fellowship, learn and worship then the drive should be no problem.

    I am not saying the to rebuke you just remind you what is most important.

    God bless

    Love your sister in the Lord

  5. 5 Kim August 26, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Prayers, dear. *hugs*

  6. 6 alana August 27, 2008 at 4:39 am

    Keeping you in my prayers.

  7. 7 Laura August 27, 2008 at 10:12 am

    Hello dear AnnaMarie —

    I hadn’t visited here in awhile; however you are both in my thoughts and prayers.

    I, too, explored Orthodoxy, (I majored in Russian history, after all) and many other, lesser-known “branches” of Christianity. In the end, though, I’ve been brought to a place where I now realize that no institution or church can fully adhere to the teachings of Christ 100 percent of the time — any more than a single person can.

    Only God Himself can bring about True Community, True Belief, and True Worship. Scattered at times though it may be, the living Church does exist — but not housed within any building, denomination, time period, or culture. “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

    With Love,


  8. 8 Amy August 27, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    I had similar feelings when I first came to Orthodoxy. I spent my whole life being fairly “mainstream”. Then I realized what it’s like to be American and no longer Protestant. It’s like being in another world. A different, exciting world that you’re so glad you found, but still completely different. A fellow convert described it this way: Orthodoxy has a steep entry ramp. There’s such a huge difference between our American culture and the ancient church, that connecting the two takes a tough climb. I can tell you that the climb gets easier and easier, though. Before long, Orthodoxy will be home and looking back on your previous life will be what seems so different. Hang in there. Praying for you on your journey!

  9. 9 Katie August 28, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Like Kristen, we drive a long distance (upwards of an hour most times) for church. It can work.

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"I can't say I don't believe in your God, but I don't believe He meant the world to be as it is." ~Nicholas Higgins. North and South.

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you are licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what." No idea where that last quote came from, but I like it!

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