Last Saturday I went to Vespers again and Jim Martin was there. I was only 5 minutes early as opposed to the 30 minutes early of the week before so we didn't have a lot of time to chat. Jim, of course, had been in the parking lot for 20 minutes already. "If I have something penciled into my calendar and I am still at home, I ask myself, Why?" That's Jim's philosophy and I think it's a good one!
We did sit a little bit before Vespers and we talked a little. I had mentioned how our approaches were somewhat different which was evidenced by the fact that I have been exploring Orthodoxy from afar for years and attending Vespers for nearly two years and, yet, Jim, with only two Vesper visits under his belt is ready to go full steam ahead. Let the Catechumen Classes Begin!!!!
I might have said this with almost a confessional tone because Jim said, "Iron Sharpens Iron" and then before much more could be said, Fr Gary came out to begin the service.
"Iron sharpens Iron so one man sharpens another" Proverbs 27:17That means we are here to make each other stronger.
Last week Jim and I were supposed to meet for coffee but that didn't happen because things were a bit crazy at work but we are, God willing, meeting this Tuesday. Jim is very anxious to have an extended conversation with me and even though I truly am not qualified to be the Orthodox Answer Man I do understand why he'd want to talk to me. We have known each other for a long time. We both understand the protestant world he is coming out of and I know I am not at all intimidating. I think that Jim is so new to Orthodoxy he may not even know the right questions to ask a priest.
Jim had said via facebook when he first learned of my Orthodox leanings, he was so amazed on God's timing~ Jim was ready to take the next step and then, by random it seems, he notices on Goodreads.com that I was reading the Orthodox Study Bible, I pointed him to my blogs which chronicled my journey and he then shows up at Vespers. Yes, God's timing is Amazing!
But here is the really amazing thing. I believe, Jim is an answer to my prayer. I have been stuck at a point where the only next step to take is to commit to Orthodoxy, become a catechumen and begin the journey with the Church. But I am hesitant for reasons I have given before. I prayed, "God, could you please kinda force the issue. Make me Orthodox!" Well, we all know that God respects our free will and doesn't make us do anything. But He will send people in our lives to move us; He will arrange situations that cause us to act.
Well, then Jim shows up! I have always looked up to Jim. He has gifts I do not and when we worked together at our protestant parish, I not only learned from him, I grew because of our different approaches. (He is more spontaneous, more able to do things on the fly - not so with me). I believe that just as he challenged me before, he can do so again. And maybe he has somethings he can learn from me.
Iron sharpens iron~ I think that is true!