A new year back in Moscow

I woke up jet-lagged to a cement-gray sky and rain drops slashing the window. It took me a few seconds to remember which part of the world I was in – Florida, Minnesota and New York have faded away and we’re back in Moscow.

Back to the crankiness, the dirty apartment, the depressing news about corruption and Russian political repression.

The city was quiet and dark on my way in to the office – New Year holidays have emptied the streets leaving mud, puddles, stray bits of garbage and wide open seats on the metro. We’re back, but after clean, friendly Minnesota, Russia feels like a cross between a garbage dump and a haunted house.

Our three-week stateside vacation in the U.S. let us spread out, breathe deeply and relax. We talked about how clean and big and easy everything was in the States and how coming back to Moscow everything is dingier, darker, more cramped.

But there’s a type of quietness here. Big-city life lends itself to loneliness and introspection. Plus I’m glad to be back at work: making things instead of buying them or receiving them as gifts. And while the metro is loud, I can hear myself think better than I can surrounded by my family.

Underground, when the metro car doors slam shut, I dip into my Bible and turn to the page where I left off in Luke. I read a story about the woman who was healed just by touching the hem of Jesus’ robe. And after her 12-year sickness disappeared in less than a few seconds Jesus told her to “Go in Peace.”

And I think about how much I want to go in peace.

So often I’m too busy, or stressed, or wracked with guilt, or insecure. I worry and think, and push and try and force and doubt. How nice it must be to have your problem solved, and then have Jesus turn to you and say, “…your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

Jesus is always saying things like that, reassuring people – don’t be afraid; don’t cry; don’t worry. Get up; be healed; your sins are forgiven; go in peace.

I feel kind of silly when I realize that I get a lot more bent out of shape about things than God does. Like when Jesus visited Martha, Mary and Lazarus and Jesus was like, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things. But one thing is necessary.” I’m going to bet that Jesus laughed a little with Martha when He said this and then gave her a hug to cheer her up and make her smile so that she started taking herself less seriously….

So, I start my day off with a prayer and some thanks.

I’m thankful for this cup of coffee and the gray sky, and the beautiful photography calendar on my desktop, and the cleaning lady humming the office vacuum cleaner, and for the click of the computer keys under my fingers, the insanity of the newsroom and eating lunch with my coworker and talking about book clubs and church, and for cranky Russian PR people, and the bizarre Russian news on RU24.

We miss the U.S. and want to go back, but I’m enjoying the day here.

P.S. some lovely morning jazz to start your day with:

sunday morning jazz from Solrae1202 on 8tracks.

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2 Responses to A new year back in Moscow

  1. “Go in peace” is a nice phrase for me to mull over just now. Thank you.

    I grinned at your thanking God for coffee. I agree, and have laughed at how often coffee appears in my gratitude journal. Mmm, in fact, making a hot pot right now sounds inviting!

    Jennifer Dougan

  2. Pingback: January Thanks | Breakfast in Moscow

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