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Written by Basil on 12/31/2004 11:18 PM. Filed under:

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Part V in the Creation series is waiting for review by two priests. I don’t want to be original, but the task at hand calls for some insight and discernment, which can be foggy territory. I decided to get some advice from men whose twin graces of spiritual and intellectual discernment I respect. Everything up to now has been rephrasing what someone else has said. I doubt I am doing anything more in Part V than reinventing someone else’s wheel, but I don’t know whose wheel it would be. So, perhaps there will be a truly fresh insight into the matter. We’ll see.

While I wait, I decided to imitate Carrie Thienes and review the year with an uncharacteristically personal synopsis.

This was filled with cleaning up loose ends before shipping out to boot camp. The training of Gideon Cook as choir director continued apace, as did the giving, selling and trashing of All My Children (also known as “material possessions,” “stuff,” or more simply, “junk.”). Somehow, I managed to keep the One Ring in my possession. The Pressshussss.
Shipped off to Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois. See the mailing list archives for more information (requires registration). This month and the next are a great blur for me.
Sometime during boot camp, I got sick. Bi-lateral ear infection (“bi-lateral” is the fancy word that means I had it in both ears) and pneumonia. The ear infection was lovely; like having ear plugs. My breathing sounded to me like Darth Vader. Anything below a shout was mumbling. I also had my wisdom teeth extracted. Chaplain Kalantzis (Fr. John) came by and remarked, “If you don’t mind my saying so, but you look like hell.” That probably sums up most of what the whole boot camp experience felt like for me.
Graduated boot camp. I got to see my parents and the Powells. (T still remembered me. I wonder if she’ll still remember me after more than a year…) Transferred to Naval Submarine School, Groton, Connecticut. Began Basic Enlisted Submarine School (BESS). Gradually given more and more freedom. Agape Vespers on Pascha Sunday at St. Sophia Hellenic Orthodox Church; Fr. Simones was very gracious and hospitable to me. However, upon attending St. Nicholas the Wonder-worker in Norwich, an OCA parish, I knew I was home.
Continued BESS. Made class leader; did fairly. Removed from class leader position after failing a personnel inspection for not wearing a belt. The dress blue trousers are colonial-era–style pants. They have a panel on the front with thirteen buttons; they do not require a belt. We had just switched to wearing dress whites. The belt just slipped my mind. Archbishop Dmitri visits St. A; Bishop Nikon visits St. Nicholas on the same Sunday. Gideon, Athanasius and Theophan tonsured as readers at St. A.
Graduated BESS the top of my section of the class. Began Auxiliary Security Force (ASF). Learned how to fire a 9mm pistol. Did not qualify on the M-16 or the M-60.
Mom and Dad came up to visit. They brought my car with them. Real freedom now. Thank God for independent mobility. I can drive myself to church now. Started reconnecting with M.
ASF was pretty much the same thing, day after day. Get up whenever I wanted; get to work around 1400 (2pm); get gunned-up; work for 8 1/2 to 9 hours; get gunned-down; do stuff for 1 to 4 hours trying to wind down; sleep for at least eight hours most days; repeat. Continued to reconnect with M. Providence seems like a real thing again for the first time in over a decade.
Took a three-day weekend to go see M in Indianapolis. There was some dark foreshadowing preceding the trip, but once we were together — bliss. M’s daughter is a very cute little girl, and I’m so glad that her Mom and grandparents are such a great set of people. Continuing sense that Providence has brought us together again after seven years.
ASF ends. Return to Sub School. Was going to take leave, but those plans were scuttled by an instructor. Would things have been different if I had been allowed to take leave? Final days of October, no reponses from M. Slipped down to Pennsylvania to help guys from St. A install computer lab at St. Tikhon’s Seminary. Voted for Michael Peroutka by absentee ballot.
Bush wins election. God be praised. I couldn’t vote for him in good conscience, but I’m glad he won. Finish studying electricity and electronics; I move on to computers and networking. Nothing from M the entire month, although I send gifts to mark the birthdays of her and her daughter. I’m really going nuts now. Purchase tickets for Indianapolis anyway. Frocked Petty Officer Third Class.
Finally, word from M. “It’s not you; it’s me.” I struggle with despair, temptation, and evil memories from previous breakups. I learn that, no matter how you try to make your words sound good to the other person, you have no earthly idea what associations you hook into with your words and your actions. In correspondence with M, I keep all this pain to myself, deciding it’s best to bless her personal work and give her the space she wants. Rdr. Gideon and Dmitri meet me at the Indianapolis airport. Christmas leave with friends at St. A and family in Tennessee. Carie drives me back to Indy. Stuck in Reagan National that night due to snow in Providence. Christmas was quite bittersweet — simultaneously very full and very empty. New Year’s Eve is just empty.
January 1, 2005
Name day. Ss. Basil and Emily, pray for us.
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