Five Questions: Dina

Welcome to MyOrthodoxFamily.com! Tell us who you are. 

I am a wife, and stay-at-home mother of two boys with another child on the way. We live in Charleston, SC, and attend Holy Ascension Orthodox Church in Mount Pleasant, SC. Almost all of our family is on the west coast, in the Sacramento area of California. I enjoy creating things with my hands, reading, learning in general, but find my life feels pretty limited these days due to the task of raising small humans.

What do you most enjoy sharing? What do you feel most called to share? 

I mainly try to share about our daily life with the kids for all our family and friends that live worlds away. I want people to know these amazing tiny people in some small way. I also share about church life, which has been challenging with Covid. I also share from time to time about the struggles with motherhood, how one can feel lost in the midst of this consuming life.

The world of social media is complex. What do you see as difficult and as redemptive about sharing your journey in this way? 

I get responses from others saying, “Me too, mama,” or people sharing in the joys and hilarities of my boys. I get to connect with others while not needing to leave my home, which is helpful as I live a very isolated life. I’ve also gotten to participate in reviewing books of various sorts, which helps my (our) growth, and I wouldn’t have been able to do that if not for social media. I’ve made many friends in similar situations that I feel drawn to and would be friends in real life if we lived closer. All in all, a lot of positive things have come from social media.

What is your earliest, distinctly Orthodox memory? 

When I was a teenager, our dear family friend who was Orthodox died of breast cancer. When we attended her funeral, it was all very bizarre and scary. I was raised Catholic, but had left that church and converted to evangelical Christianity as a sophomore in high school.

Years later, I was searching for the early church and met my future husband who was Orthodox, but was determined not to go back to the legalism of Catholicism, so I didn’t intend to pursue getting to know him. I had a dream that I was sitting in a booth at a restaurant next to him, and I turned to him and said, “I will never become Greek Orthodox.” In response, he bursted into laughter, which broke the tension, and I joined him in laughter.

A couple days later, he asked me to attend an Orthodox service one time and experience it. I agreed, thinking it would solidify my resolve. He brought me into a small, OCA parish, and I immediately felt the Holy Spirit fall in the room and I wept the entire service as a few realizations hit me simultaneously. First, this was the church I had attended for my Godmother’s funeral all those years ago. Secondly, they were singing the beatitudes as we walked in (yes, we were late). I had spent the last few years leading worship for a 24/7 prayer and worship movement and we focused on singing scriptures and prayer. This felt like a full circle moment. Then, after the service was over, they had announcements and community time. One person said they needed egg crates for their chicken eggs, and another stood up and said they would bring some. Another parishioner stood up and said they needed more canned food for the food closet, and several others committed to buying more. A third person announced a need for people serving at an upcoming event, and again, many volunteered. It truly was the community I had been searching for in the Christian church.

Later on that day, I was reflecting with my future husband on the day, and then mentioned my dream to him about not being Greek Orthodox. He started laughing again, this time in real life. I asked what was funny, and he said, “Well, I’m not GREEK, so you don’t have to worry about that!” And we both laughed. The rest is history.

What do you hope will be the mark you leave on the world as you pass through it? 

That I will be known for my love for God, for others, for my children, and that I grew in the midst of trials.

@chucktownthompsons

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