My discussion with priest Dorel Galan for this text was one of the gifts I have received during this week, when orthodox celebrate Easter. Special, heartfelt words about our lessons these days, how we change in good for us and for the others, about spatial distance that makes you feel way closer with heart. About God, faith, love and miracles.
Churches are closed this period in Romania, but priest Dorel Galan officiates the religious service every day. Just him and the singer are inside, but the feeling is unique and uplifting. “Personally, when I was officiating the religious service with my church full, I felt like loosing a little from what the internalization of the religious service means”, he says – when you turn to your believers you are also careful if everything is ok on the outside, if the clothes fit properly, for instance, “a little concern for the outside” as he describes. But now all these go away – “when it’s just you and the singer this fear goes away, it’s just you with your own inner self, in front of God”, he says, with so much emotion in his voice, beautifully describing the process as a “return to internalization”.
He keeps permanent contact with believers in his parish – technology is so very helpful! The campaign “Adopt an elderly” is trying to keep elderly people inside and young people from the parish to help them with what they need – doing shopping or anything else. People in need are helped from donations. There are so many beautiful ways that can keep us together these days!
There are so many things to think about this period and to learn from! Priest Galan says he is speaking from personal experience, first of all, staying at home with his wife and two children. But each conclusion is a valuable lesson – and I’m absolutely sure many of us have personally reached the same ideas. “First of all, we are no longer so dependent on consumption and some invented desires, to get things you probably don’t need”, priest Galan says.
Studies show that we usually buy more than we need, and then throw away 25% of the food we buy. “I have realized, in my own family, that we didn’t even throw a small piece of bread, we became more careful and caring with the gifts we receive”, he says.
It’s a good time to realize you need way less than you have thought before pandemic happened. “It’s a good resettlement of our needs and concerns”, he says. For instance, you realize you have bought so many shoes for nothing, where are you going to wear them, anyway? And the examples can be so many.
Staying with your family all day long, without the possibility of getting out, can also teach you lessons. “You learn to manage conflicts differently”, priest Galan says, with a simple and so good example. Before, if you had a fight with your partner, you maybe got out for two hours, to take a walk and calm down – now you have to act differently, because you have to remain inside the house. “You learn to argue differently, it’s an exercise in tempering the evil in the world, and this is also something we win”, he says.
Staying more time together also gives you the possibility of living a deeper unity and cohesion.
And even if all the people we love are not physically with us, the emotional connection is way stronger. “Even if apparently we are at a distance, I don’t think we live an emotional distancing, also – the more you are forced to keep physical distance, the stronger emotional connection is. Of course we all miss hugging our parents, but I think we needed a step back to be able to see more objective our relations, life, the world, everything that is happening to us”, priest Galan says.
“We don’t know to die, that’s why we are so panicked”
Facing death, talking about it and understanding it as a normal part of our lives should be another lesson to learn these days. “I think we are very afraid of death. In the past, people had seen death differently, had lived it easily – their death or that of people they loved. Modern man wanted to prolong his life, to be immortal. We, people of nowadays, don’t know to die, that’s why we are so panicked. Modern man lives outside the consciousness of death, we rarely realize our own death”, he says, pointing again the recommendation of the church fathers – “remember death and you will never make mistakes”.
We don’t need miracles to find faith. Miracles come out of faith
Many people often tend to think more about God in difficult times – sometimes “negotiate” in their minds, if it will be ok, I will do that. Let us not be hypocrites – things like this often happen.
There’s also a question I asked priest Galan – do we really do this? He answered me beautifully, using biblical parables – but the phrases I keep on reading are these – “The authentic Christian doesn’t need miracles to find faith, the authentic Christian knows that miracle comes out of faith. (…) When faith comes from a miracle I can suspect it’s not authentic. God does not need a faith coming out of fear, God needs our faith to simply come out of love. Faith goes to another direction – that one of love – it has nothing to do with fear but everything to do with love”.
PHOTOS FROM PERSONAL ARCHIVE
#coronastories are opened for people of all ages, from different professions and different countries. If you want to talk about the way you feel and understand these times, please contact me. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can also talk on Whatsapp – +47 455 17 634 or on Skype – Ramona Sarac.