Sunday, May 23, 2010

My Icon Corner

This is my icon corner. It started with just the blessing cross, which I bought about a year ago when I first began to suspect that there might be something to this Orthodox Christianity thing, beyond the fact that my then girlfriend was an Orthodox Christian. That particular cross had been hanging on the wall in the St. Maximus the Confessor Orthodox Mission bookstore with a price tag of a hundred dollars, and after about three months of talking myself into ponying up the money for it, I finally decided one night that I would buy that cross as a symbol of what I suspected and hoped was to be a continually growing interest in, and eventual commitment to, Orthodox Christianity.

Thus began my icon corner.

Here is a close-up of the actual icons. The Christ Pantocrator and the Creation of the Universe icons on the left were given to me as gifts. The Transfiguration icon was a freebie at St. Maximus, as was the Nativity icon. I bought the two small icons at the St. Maximus book store; one is of the Guardian Angel, and I don't know what the other one is. I don't remember who I thought it was when I bought it, and I keep forgetting to take it to church to show Fr. Justin so he can tell me. The other tiny one balancing on the Nativity icon is a personal Theotokos icon given to me by Nancy.

I have placed various items in my icon corner which symbolize people in my life whom I want to remember in my prayers. Before I describe each item individually, here is a picture of all of them together:

To kick things off, we have an item which serves a double purpose, but I only realized that just now. It's a cobalt blue bottle shaped like a violin or something, maybe a standup bass. I keep holy water in it, and I also keep two bracelets which belonged to my grandmother draped over it. The bottle was given to me by Erica Helpenstiel back in 1993 as a going away gift. I don't remember if I was going away, or if it was her... you see, she was getting married and I was moving to Austin... so it's kind of fuzzy. Anyway, I kind of see this bottle as grandmothers corner of the icon corner. Grandmother was Catholic by the way, and she died last March. March of 2009, not LAST March.

Next item up for bid is a beautiful Star Trek Communicator Pin. This belonged to a friend who I never actually met. He was the owner of a website that was all about classic video game console emulation. I knew him online for about 10 years, and he became a dear friend. He died last April... 2009, not 2010... of an awful brain disease that he had kept secret. His name is Jason Melton, but a lot of us knew him as Ice. His mom sent me some of his stuff, including this pin. RIP Ice. You are remembered. I pray for you.

Here is a bottle of oil from the vigil lamp at the reliquary of Holy Hierarch St. John, Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco. My friend Nancy gave me this oil on a day when I was feeling really rotten. I've heard of Holy Oil from the St. Catherine Monastery on Mt. Sinai that can heal cancer, so I anoint myself on my chest with this oil, right above my heart. I don't know if I'm doing it right, or even if holy oil can be used to help mend a broken heart, but I try anyway. Thank you Nancy.

This is a bracelet that my sister Cheyenne gave me for Christmas. It's actually a Catholic bracelet; not Orthodox, but that doesn't matter to me. I wear it to services, and when I'm not at church, I put it here in my icon corner.

Zoe, Fr. Justin's... 4 four year old daughter, gave me this 'grocery list' one day when I was painting the closet of Fr. Justin's rent house. As I sat there painting, Zoe kept constant vigil right outside the door with an endless stream of conversation. At one point, between her favorite color and Harry Potter, she solemnly handed me this grocery list. She didn't indicate what I should do with it; it was more like she had bequeathed it to me. I keep it here in my icon corner because it is a symbol of purity and innocence, and happiness. It also reminds me that love exists and life exists, and that my own little problems do not even come close to defining reality. God bless Zoe and all Orthodox families and clergy.

These are various pendants and prayer ropes/beads which I keep on my wall. The rosary belonged to my grandmother, as did the crucifix pendant. Above that is my first Orthodox cross pendant, and above that is a cross I found on the floor at 7-Eleven. The prayer rope was a Christmas gift from Nick. I keep Nicks rope there to remind me of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Here is a photograph of Leah, some of her hair that I keep woven through several rings which belong to her but which she returned to me, the Prayer of St. Ephrem which she wrote down for me to keep during Lent, and a glass bead that I found on the road while out walking, which is identical to some beads that I gave her for her birthday in 2008. Also, I keep the blue prayer rope that she gave me draped around the blue candle holder when I'm not wearing it (you can see it in the above picture of the table items). All of these things remind me to pray for Leah, and also to remind me of forgiveness and reconciliation.

I was out walking one day, immersed in despair and self pity, when I glanced down and found this rusty old pin which reads, with a bit of difficulty, "I'm Injury Free!" I imagine this pin being some kind of incentive prize for a 'safety in the workplace' campaign at some factory. What it does is to remind me that if I can read through the rust, that is... if I can clear my spiritual sight, then I too will be injury free. I will be healed. I am, in fact, already healed, if I can only allow myself to see it and make it real.

So that's my icon corner.

The End.

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