I have been to the edge and back, to the edge where everything falls apart and drops into nothingness, departs into the abyss. It is this edge which keeps me convinced I want to live. Once you have arrived, you may stay in the depths like one dead or you may begin your resurrection, but not without help, not without grace.

Grace came to me in many forms, but in the form of the Church most clearly of all, the Church in which all sorrow is transformed into purifying fire and comforted. Once I began loving the Church, there was no return. There is no other balm that healed so thoroughly and no other friend that loved so dearly. When I am in pain, I wish to disappear in the Church, to wrap it around me until I am swallowed in it, this new garment, and I myself am made new.

Such sorrow and joy — for there can be none without the other, not since Adam broke communion — is resplendent in beautiful things but overflowing in the Church. It is this which gives the worship its gravity. For exactly in the place where you least expect to find it, there is the greatest joy. We think happiness and sadness are opposites. Really what we mean is pleasure and sadness are opposites, which is true. But joy and sorrow are married this side of the fall. We are told both “blessed are those who mourn,” and “rejoice always.”

Orthodox Christian, writer and poet