Because of My Parents’ Love
Susan Lickwar Lukianov
Why am I still here? I am actually asked this question quite often. And this is not an easy question to answer, especially for a PK (Priest’s Kid). I say it is not easy to answer because the reasons I give seem so ordinary; not the “quick fix” or “step-by-step guide” that so many seek. I’d like to be able to answer that my love of Christ, my faith, my desire to work on my salvation are the things that keep me coming back.
Truly I am still here because I want to love Christ as the Church teaches we should. I want to be strong in my faith. I want to be in paradise. So the question for me becomes, why do I want those things?
That answer is easy-my parents and the example they have set.
My parents recently celebrated 50 years of marriage and service to the Church. By today’s standards this is not typical. But this couple lives their lives with a devotion to Christ and His Church. That has guided them through all. I think it is important to understand what this devotion looks like, from a daughter’s perspective.
There are many layers to their relationship. There is their personal relationship and devotion to Christ and His Church, their relationship to Christ as a married couple; him as a husband; her as a wife; for him as a priest; her as a matushka; him as a dad; her as a mom. The Church teaches that each of those “roles” has its own set of responsibilities and at times makes suggestions of what one must do in each role. But there is one common thread among all of these and that is sacrifice. The wife sacrifices for the husband, the husband for the wife; the parents for the child, the priest for his flock.
It is clear that throughout their entire 50 years together, neither one of them ever put their own needs first. And their sacrifice was selfless; done in secret; never lauded over each other or those they willingly sacrificed for. And more importantly, everything they did, they did together. In living lives devoted to Christ, they also lived lives that were consistent in their devotion to Christ. And with their children, they practiced what they preached. They never asked anything of us as children that they themselves would not do.
What stays with a child are the things you see adults do when they think no one is watching. My parents were consistent in their actions and behavior, both in and out of the Church. I know that their love and example laid the foundation—and from there I experienced many other “things” that kept me coming back. These are all reasons of why I am still here.
I’m still here…
- Because someone in the church community took the time to get to know me and my interests
- Because I was allowed to sing in the choir from an early age
- Because no one criticized my singing or chanting-only offered praise (and guidance and advise with love)
- Because we prayed as a family and were taught to do so individually as well
- Because so many gave of their time and talents to teach me about music in the church
- Because we had church school and festivals and picnics and youth retreats AND parents encouraged their children to go
- Because my parents took us to other church functions, Lenten Mission Services, Hierarchical Services (even when we complained that we did not want to go)
- Because we fasted
- Because we went to Vespers, Vigil, Liturgy, Feast Day Services, Lenten Services
- Because I had peers and friends in the church
- Because I witnessed the sacrifices my parents made for us on a daily basis
- Because when I whined about Church and services, they listened, but made me understand why I needed to go
- Because I helped clean the church
- Because my parents made exceptions (rarely, but they did)
- Because they let me become myself while growing in the church (nothing was forced on me)
- Because we lived next door to the church (gave me a great appreciation for how much work is needed to maintain a Church)
- Because of the little traditions
A lot of people took a lot of time to teach me, encourage me, and pray for me. And I recognized their love and concern because I saw it first in the example of my parents. I know that the loving example they set is why I am still here. And there is no place I’d rather be.