Here’s another question from a reader
Q) How has your Orthodox faith had an impact on your own work with the dying and the dead?
A) I don’t think we would be doing this if it were not for our faith. This is not something Elizabeth and I would have chosen to do. I was trained as an artist and spent many years as an Industrial/Technical Photographer. Elizabeth has worked in both healthcare and the hospitality industry.
Orthodoxy has taught us that all that we have is a gift from God. Growing in the faith, we continue to learn to seek the acquisition of the Holy Spirit and to conform ourselves to the image and likeness of Christ. This inevitably leads to a life of thanksgiving and offering. If I know that, no matter how hard I try, I cannot make my heart beat one more time, how can I get puffed up about what I have accomplished or accumulated in my life? If every heartbeat is a gift then certainly everything else is too. So what can you do with that, but offer it back to God with thanksgiving. One offering we make is serving others.
We always knew we would be the ones to care for our parents in their old age. We didn’t know we would have three of them living with us for six years.
Initially, my interest in natural burial was purely selfish. I was motivated by my own desire not to be embalmed and to find a legal way to do that, other than cremation, which is not Orthodox. However, when I discovered that natural burial is truly the proper ancient Orthodox Christian form of burial I felt obliged to share that knowledge with others.
Our Lord Jesus Christ and Christian love gives us the strength to overcome primal fears, superstitions and our own squeamishness. We are constantly challenged to step outside our comfort zone. It gives us the strength to serve others in most any capacity. We can do things we never thought possible before; such as changing mother’s diapers a thousand times or caring for dad’s catheter and feeding tube, even washing and anointing their bodies for burial.