November 19, 2017
Sinful I Confess
By Serge Mihaly, Jr
Sinful I Confess
It seems as I get older, I am more and more aware of my sinfulness. Perhaps, it is a function of my age and a growing recognition that I am no longer a child or even a young adult. My sons are all in or near their 30’s and like many my age, I find myself asking ‘where did the time go?’ It seems it was only yesterday that my son, Zach, was learning to ride a bike. Now, he has two jobs, a girlfriend and drives a truck.
For some, 57 isn’t ‘old’, but it’s not young either. Maybe, this newfound concern about my age is a function of having more time to think, living by myself undistracted by a busy family life. Maybe it’s the recent passing of both family and friends that has suddenly focused my mind on my own mortality and what that means. We are, after all, just as human, just as frail and just as strong. Of course, our own passing is not something we want to think about. Like Benjamin Franklin once said, the only things that are guaranteed in life are death and taxes. In Connecticut that goes double for taxes.
Having been stuck in the hospital and then a rehab facility healing from the effects of a replaced hip, I’ve had a lot of time to think. As a child and young adult, I saw and experienced life as an exciting adventure without any discernable rhythm except for the mostly happy wanderings of a blessed young man. My perception of God, of good and evil, of eternity, of my relationships with my friends, family, strangers and my future was not usually something I questioned. My view of life was dependent on the tenets of my upbringing. All seemed well, so why question it?
Today, as an adult, I’ve seen and learned more. Where I took life for granted before, I now realize how precious it is. I’ve been married, raised 3 good young men, have a beautiful extended family, graduated college, met great friends and experienced things I could never have previously imagined. I understand more now, both good and bad and have a more realistic view of myself and life. Yet, with all this new knowledge I actually understand less about a lot of things which motivates me to ask questions. I now see behind the ‘curtain.’ I look deeper and find hidden and not so hidden meanings in things. This applies especially to my Orthodox Christian faith. As much as I believe, I too am human. I cannot take my salvation through Christ for granted and necessarily suddenly finding myself asking how can I strengthen my faith. The answer is to struggle, to keep struggling, keep my mind on Christ and seek to strengthen my faith in the midst of life’s distractions and there are many. There are answers, but there are no easy answers.
The devil may not appear to us as a red horned creature with a curved, pointy tail and long pitchfork, but he is here and only our faith in Christ and Christ Himself can defeat him. If there is anything I truly believe, this is certainly one of them. I see now why my parents did what they did pouring themselves into their Orthodox faith more and more as they got older. Their experiences, too, taught them what I am only learning now.