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Loving God is so careful, gracious towards His children, His creation, bestowing His blessings on us despite a man’s spiritual blindness and insensibility to God’s works. The silence can give us more answers than boisterous debates so the time being spent in loneliness is very helpful. The manifestations of God in a man’s life may be various, the establishment of personal, friendly relations with the man is God’s first priority. But the people mainly remain deaf to all admonitions God is willing to give them and continue living in complete ignorance of what God has prepared for them in this life or what He wishes them to be, losing necessary guidance through worldly hardships. There are, of course, times when one must work out one’s own problems turning to someone for an advice or help. All of us have known the feeling of detachment, when the lack of answers seems so poignant and excruciating… Answers may come quickly and immediately, sometimes it may take quite a long time for an answer to come. People usually miss the answers attaching no significance to them or simply don’t notice them behind the thick shroud of the humdrum. Excessive anxiety about receiving the answer can also hinder in an effort to perceive it. The answers are the life in in its entirety and harmony, the life pervaded with reason and sense. The life is the answer of the Wisdom to unbelief and obscurity. Every instant is the creation of the Wisdom. The profound sense of the significance of the moment God had been leading me to has always reminded me of God’s guidance, His supreme support and care, has always made me thank Him for His boundless Love and my life with Him. His Love has always been close to me, in every day of my life, when I was happy and miserable, at the hours of complete hopelessness and utter despair. He’s been conversing with me through people around and my friends, my thoughts and a course of events, through peace and silence. The sensation of God’s nearness, His continual presence in my life have always given me inner strength so necessary to overcome difficulties no matter how hard and insuperable they could have been. His infinite wisdom has always provided my mind with timely answers in any situations no matter how hopeless they seemed. Childhood is always associated with the happiest and brightest memories of a man’s life. The time when a man’s soul, a person’s inner life and world, is too gentle to perceive destructive ideas of this world, the harsh reality of life, when the soul seems to be so innocent being ready to live in harmony with oneself and people around, when the soul is able to rejoice over the smallest and insignificant things. This early period of life seems so colourful and light-hearted that we remain confident nothing can darken it. No matter how hard times one has outlived fond memories of one’s childhood occasionally overcome a person leaving warm and tender sentiments in one’s heart. These memories accompany the man for the rest of life evoking either felicity or tender emotion and melancholy. I cannot say that my childhood differed from that other children had in those days. The same toys, games, school lessons and education. And we can hardly imagine our life without our close friends and family. A man’s life usually begins within a family where all human beings receive a first and vitally important experience of interpersonal attitudes. Our friends also teach us something we need to know in this life. Most of our pleasant memories of any event relate to our family or friends. One of the vivid impressions that is still alive in my mind and that I’d like to share with the reader is the remembrance of my bicycle or how I got my first bicycle. When I was a schoolboy dreams of having my own bicycle were constantly born in my mind especially being revived when I saw one in a store. Seeing bicycles or any other light vehicles on sale wasn’t a customary scene in those times. Genuine feast was when we would gather together with other boys in the store enjoying the view of new bicycles just supplied for sale. Totally
enchanted we stood in front of the bicycles each one thinking that one day would have his own bike. More reasonable lads would scrape together some money and some of them would succeed in buying a new bike. And so would I. But, as I remember, either I didn’t scrape up the price of a bicycle or I didn’t find a good one but I didn’t buy a bicycle on my own. My father did it. One summer morning when I woke up an unexpected surprise had already been awaiting. It was standing leant against the wall and packed in paper. Imagine my astonishment then! That was the bike I had been dreaming about for so long! I wasn’t aware of the present my parents had prepared for me and was really happy at that moment. Riding my own bicycle was the wonderful, unforgettable experience. Together with my friends we would go by bicycles out to the pond, cook a meal over a fire or eat snacks taken from home. Sometimes I would make bike rides along paths round the park alone enjoying fine weather or spectacular scenery of Mother Nature. There were many friends in my life and they all were different characters. Some of them I remember quite clearly, the others I have almost forgotten, some still remain my good friends. But in my narrative I would wish to dwell upon some persons that I think to have influenced me beneficially. I cannot certainly say when I first began to think or talk about God but there was one friend who gave me first elementary conception of Him. No matter how far true and accurate that first conception was or whether it was in error it laid the foundation of my further spiritual search. My friend’s name was Emmanuel. We lived in the same apartment house and attended same school. We both were of the same age and used to spend much time together. He was my good friend who loved to read a lot and was able to rouse the crowd to excitement. Emmanuel was interested in things like outer space, other planets, spaceships and suchlike. He knew all about them and could tell about that kind of stuff for hours. His parents were Orthodox Christians, so he knew something from the Bible. Mostly that was stories from hagiography or some superstitions seeming weird and mysterious but despite being far from reality I did like listening to them. I had heard of God before only in outline having no the slightest idea of what God really was. So the only thing I could do then was letting my friend edify me. ‘The outer space is infinite, has no boundaries and cannot be crossed over even by light with its velocity,’ said Emmanuel with the serious look. ‘And the whole universe was created by God.’ ‘Do you believe in this?’ I blurted out the first question that came into my head. ‘But how about the science or what scientists say about it. Everyone knows there is no God. Even if there is why we’re all still being taught that a man was originated from the ape and all living creatures have appeared as a result of evolution.’ After a short pause he collected his thoughts and responded to my claim slightly stumbling over his speech. ‘I don’t know why at schools they teach us that there is no God and the theory of evolution is the only possible satisfactory explanation for the variety of life as well as the origin of a man. God is spirit and is everywhere at every moment and cannot be explained by science nor any other means and instruments. And everyone who commits sins and blasphemy or doesn’t believe in Him shall be punished in the fiery hell. But whoever believes and keeps His commandments shall enter the kingdom of heaven.’ I couldn’t be sure if he implicitly believed in what he had been asserting but that idea deeply impressed me so that I occasionally returned to it in my mind. At the time of those deliberations being absorbed in thought I was gripped by a turmoil of conflicting emotions. ‘If there is God,’ I would think. ‘Then why most people know nothing about this, if we’re all His creation whether
He expresses an interest in people or whether He aims to get into contact with us or how this communication may be established if it’s, of course, possible.’ But maybe it was rather incomprehensible or I was too young to treat upon the subject the questions that I used to ask myself still remained unanswered. I remember afterwards Emmanuel with his family moved away to another town and I have lost touch with him ever since. There have been times when I come back to our friendship reviving the best impressions and moments we had. Deep inside I’m grateful to my fate for all my friends, my parents and all events that have ever happened to me. The most unforgettable impressions having been engraved on my mind were the trips to my grandmother. My mom’s mother has lived in the village for all her life and always loved the country life. It seems there is nothing she’d like to exchange it for. The grandma waited for us in impatience being exhilarated upon our arrival and was somehow sad seeing us off to the countrylane driving away back home. I have always loved the country life. Calm and silence are good for the soul. Quite interesting and unexpected thoughts may flow into your mind upon the waves of the complete serenity. Although I live in a small town the country life differs from that people lead in our town. One will never find such divine inspiration, senses of felicity and harmony, miraculous unity with the entire world as one can only experience alone with nature. Sometimes peace and quietness can give you much more than boisterous debate. I have always appreciated the minutes spent in quiet loneliness, when nothing seems to bother, when peace seems to be penetrating into the very heart and then, peace and quiet spread through the whole body wrapping you up like a warm blanket… I did like stories my grandma used to tell me. Especially if they were about something mysterious and inexplicable. On Sundays she attended the services of Christian Orthodox Church. Most of all I was enchanted with the stories about God, heavens or angels although I didn’t comprehend much of all that. God seemed so remote from people, horrifying and waiting to punish people on the day of judgement. There was something mysterious and even frightful about the icons hanged in the corners of the grandma’s house. God and various Saints looking down upon me struck with awe making me sit quietly. I was preoccupied with the fear of making them angry trying to behave myself properly. My grandma had some old books on the shelf. Some of them were rather shabby with dingy sheets but quite readable. Once I stumbled across the old book. That was the Old Slavonic or Church Slavonic edition of the New Testament. I don’t remember what forced me to take that book but one day I started reading it. The more I read the more interesting the reading became. The introduction to the New Testament had deeply penetrated into my heart and I often returned to the reading of it when we used to come to the grandma’s house. I did like the trips to my grandmother. We usually travelled there by car being on the move quite a long time. The trips were always very interesting with new places and sights passing by outside the car windows. I had always impatiently expected those trips every time being exhilarated about my parents’ decision to take the road. The travels were highly enjoyable and light-hearted bringing so many vivid impressions. Sometimes some minor car breakdowns might have happened upon the road. Then my father’s skills as a mechanic were just at the right time. Usually he was able to cope with all unexpected defects and engine troubles. But there had been some hardships suddenly arisen upon the road that amazed us with the wondrous way to be solved. Once when we were half way to the grandmother there had occurred an unforeseen circumstance on the highway that later made me realize the vital importance of the presence of the Supreme Reason, giving timely answers and support. I began to realize how wonderful the life might be guided by God. Some people don’t see this presence or even don’t believe it regarding events and occurrences as sheer luck, they don’t wish to listen to the voice speaking to
them. That was the usual summer day on the way to the grandmother. We were driving down the road and it seemed there was nothing threatening nor a sense of acute foreboding in the habitual flow of traffic around. The car passing before us was moving steadily onward. We followed it and everything went smoothly. The smooth running and swinging of our car, the swish of the tyres lulled us into a light doze. My father was always all attention. Then suddenly some stones which were here and there scattered all over the road loosed off the rear wheels of the car going ahead and rushed far back towards our car. One stone dashed against the windscreen of our car with the hard dull blow and immediately it turned to a thick web of cracks. As we pulled over the windscreen shattered and shards of broken glass spilt on the floor and front seats. Luckily none of the shards injured us or our eyes and we were safe and sound. But the serious difficulty arose before us – it seemed impossible to continue our journey without the windscreen and we really needed the new one. My father had serious worry about what he should do. He could have easily replaced the broken windscreen with the new one. But this idea faded away every time it came upon us as no windscreen might be found on the highway far away from any town. The dark clouds veiling the horizon in the distance only aggravated the gloomy situation. After all it was decided to go on with no windscreen to the nearest car service station. That seemed the only reasonable decision under the circumstances. Sometimes cars fortuitously going by us stopped and offered help but it was of no earthly use to us. I stood on the roadside with the sad look following cars disappearing from view far beyond the horizon. The long thread of the road running into the distance amongst the plains and hills beckoned with suspense, picturesque sceneries astride. While we were cleaning up the passenger compartment from the shards of broken glass a lorry moving in the opposite direction pulled over across the road. A man got out of it staring intently at our direction and went across the road towards us. As he came closer we noticed there was a strange intriguing smile on his face. ‘Don’t you happen to need the windscreen?’ the man asked. ‘I see that yours is broken and this is the problem indeed. But don’t worry about it. I’m just transporting the new sets of windscreens from the manufacturer. Our firm is engaged in spares transportation to car spares stores and service stations.’ We all stiffened with astonishment for a moment. My parents couldn’t believe in what that man had said. ‘God has apparently sent you with your help in the way,’ mom said recovering herself from utter amazement. The man smiled in reply and directed his steps towards his truck to take the new piece of windscreen for us. Soon we were ready to continue the trip with the new windscreen on. ‘God has sent you,’ I repeated quietly looking after the lorry as it disappeared into the distance beyond the horizon veiled with the grey shroud of heavy clouds. The first rolling thunderclap of the oncoming rainstorm reached us. ‘God always gives the answer…’