Thursday, September 25, 2008
Orthodox Patriarchal Blessing
A few days after The Decision I drove to Father John's to discuss it. He was waiting on his porch as I drove carefully into his driveway, got out of the car and staggered up the stairs into his house to the chair he had prepared. Angus, his black Scottie "guard dog", lay down on my feet and went to sleep.
Then Fr. John took a deep breath and exclaimed “You will forever be a pimple on the behind of Orthodoxy!” We both laughed when I replied I hoped they would not have to lance me as did the Mormons. He then became serious and declared: “Now I am going to pronounce an ORTHODOX Patriarchal blessing upon you!”
This caught me by surprise as he began to speak with great enthusiasm and confidence what he perceived and felt. As he finished I was left speechless and weeping. He could not have spoken more insightful, penetrating and meaningful words to me. I was completely undone, chastened and rejoicing. "Thou art Joseph!" he announced at the blessing's beginning. "And I don't mean Joseph Smith. Rather, thou art like Joseph of old, who was betrayed by family members and sold into Egypt", he continued, tying in the parallels to a descent into slavery and, because of his skill with dreams, was subsequently raised to levels of influence in the courts of Pharaoh.
Earlier that same morning I had come out of a dream, having jolted myself awake by “slamming on the brakes” of a car at a crossroads without traffic signs. My car is heading east and I wait for another vehicle coming at high speed from the left (north), which obviously does not see me. It whooshes through the intersection on its way south and I feel relief to have avoided a collision. I return to sleep.
After awakening a little later, I feel dizzy and have to use the dresser and walls to keep upright before climbing the stairs unsteadily to my computer room to inspect the morning email. There were three messages: 1. just in from Ukraine from the aforementioned Mormon patriarch to Eastern Europe; 2. from a Rabbi friend in Idaho; and 3. from the local Mormon stake president. The latter two were sent the previous evening. Messages 1 & 2 were analytical responses to my play The Defense of Cain. Message 3 was a dismissive response to an early draft of a Sunstone Symposium paper sent two months earlier. These three messages together felt like cross traffic.
I shared that dream with Fr. John during our discussion and he suggested I could turn in whatever new direction I chose, if I felt uncertain at the crossroads. I told him that I'd only stopped to allow cross traffic to pass. I was not changing course in heading east.