Every other week, The Metropolis will share stories of individual parishioners who struggled in some way, but were made whole by the Church.
“My heart was hardened, because I closed it off to Christ.”
One day, years ago, I opened my eyes and a doctor told me I had awoken from a month-long coma. I had dropped to 156 lbs. from 235 lbs. Over the coming weeks and months, I would have to relearn how to move my fingers, hands and legs as well as chew, eat and talk. This was the lowest point of my life. My reaction was to blame God, just as I had for my other, past misfortunes.
When I finally went home, a visiting neighbor heard me complaining. In response, he said nothing, but dropped a Bible on my desk and walked out. When I eventually opened it, I was struck by Ezekiel 36:26: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.”
Reading this verse brought back a flood of memories from my church: being part of GOYA, celebrating the Divine Liturgy, receiving spiritual guidance from my church’s clergy. Those memories reminded me of what a heart filled with Christ’s love felt like. At that moment, I realized something painfully true of me. My heart had become hardened; I had closed it off to Christ. The truth was that blaming God, the world and everyone in it for years of bad decisions did not do anything for me. It only made my heart harder and plunged me into deeper pain.
In many ways, my incapacitated body makes me feel defenseless like a child. Today, I freely accept this. I am blessed to be a child of God, who strengthens and protects me.
– A parishioner, St. Demetrios of Elmhurst
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