Welcome to MyOrthodoxFamily.com! Tell us who you are.
My name is Trudy; Athanasia is my Orthodox name. Married for 35 years, two call me Mother and two call me Nonna.
The majority of my life has been spent within an hour of where I was born, in spite of moving nearly a dozen times. I was fortunate to raise my children without needing to work outside the home. When the time came that I could, my career was as an Executive Assistant in a fundraising consulting firm. Now I am largely retired and busier than ever.
What do you most enjoy sharing? What do you feel most called to share?
I most enjoy sharing pictures of my granddaughters, nature, some of my artwork, and inspirational quotes from the Bible or Church Fathers. Sharing articles and thoughts about leadership, and the lack thereof, is moving to the forefront of my mind.
The world of social media is complex. What do you see as difficult and as redemptive about sharing your journey in this way?
The older I get, the more I see and experience the destructive nature of social media. It has been a conscious thought to limit my Facebook friend list and who I follow on IG.
As the only Orthodox Christian in my family and among my friends, I tread lightly in what I share and say. Not because I want to avoid offending anyone (the Gospel is offensive to the base nature of mankind), but because I don’t want to alienate those I love and spoil what witness I perceive I have.
This is redemptive because I am rather free with my opinion! Though I am failing miserably, I want to lean more to the silent side than opinionated side of life. It is hard work because I have so many thoughts running through my head and they can become obsessively unhealthy and lead to anger. Sometimes I need to journal them out of me and shred them. Confession to my spiritual father of 10 years who knows me quite well is very helpful.
What is your earliest, distinctly Orthodox memory?
My earliest memory is of my chrismation 16 years ago on September 14, the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross. Three priests for the Feast Day participated. I was the first convert for one of them and the first at the Greek mission parish. The feeling of being wrapped in a bubble, completely silent (no breathing but mine, no rustle of robe or dress), completely alone stands out most prominently. I never felt so safe or close to God as in that moment.
What do you hope will be the mark you leave on the world as you pass through it?
As I thought about this, my immediate thought was “I don’t expect or hope to make or leave any mark in this world.” Having buried both of my parents, I realized that 99.9% of us leave no mark. In two short generations, no one will be alive who remembers them to pray for them. I think of this for myself. That is why I pray for a priest who I never met face-to-face but did some newsletter work for. I don’t think his children were Orthodox. Who would pray for his blessed repose? I do so weekly for his sake.
I think the most important thing for me, though I am only 61 years old, but as I move slowly into more ‘elderly’ years is Skin Horse’s answer to the Velveteen Rabbit about what it means to be real. It is that to which I aspire. Take me or leave me – real is what I work towards.
“ ‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”