She Returned

PineTreeFarmer

Kingfisher
Woman
Orthodox Inquirer
I'll say yes to make myself appear like a deeper writer. :laugh:

But really the subconscious works in mysterious ways.
That's. Funny.

I got my first kiss on my fifteenth birthday, in the lake. My girlfriends were supposed to go with myself and my new boyfriend and his best friends, but my friends both got sick overnight. I let him drive the jetski, and he was so itty that when he took a turn, we both flew off because he was too small to hold onto.

Thank the Lord for fat's buoyancy. And for the son I have with my first boyfriend's birthday.
 

Going strong

Hummingbird
Orthodox
Gold Member
I really like this. Beautiful story.
We have all known an Elena in our lives. The happy ending definitely takes the edge off a bit ;)

"Happy ending" on this story, I'm not sure I feel that way.

Because it feels sad somehow that the man (Seraphim) of the story who apparently suffered the most in his adult life and thrives the most to obey and please God, one of the most honest men probably in his Parish, ends up, in the short story, alone (as in, not married).

Sure, he has spread happiness around him, by enabling two Orthodox couples to get married, but, himself Seraphim remains single (though yes, loneliness might, or have to, be his cross?) . So, one is left with mixed feelings regarding the end of the story.

Plus, isn't Seraphim's refusal to forgive Elena, somehow and unwillingly tainted with pride? Or, not pride but, stubbornness. Personally I don't really fully understand why he can't, say concretely forgive and give Elena (and himself) a new chance at happiness through Orthodox marriage.
 
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EntWife

Kingfisher
Woman
Orthodox
"Happy ending" on this story, I'm not sure I feel that way.

Because it feels sad somehow that the man (Seraphim) of the story who apparently suffered the most in his adult life and thrives the most to obey and please God, one of the most honest men probably in his Parish, ends up, in the short story, alone (as in, not married).

Sure, he has spread happiness around him, by enabling two Orthodox couples to get married, but, himself Seraphim remains single (though yes, loneliness might, or have to, be his cross?) . So, one is left with mixed feelings regarding the end of the story.

Plus, isn't Seraphim's refusal to forgive Elena, somehow and unwillingly tainted with pride? Or, not pride but, stubbornness. Personally I don't really fully understand why he can't, say concretely forgive and give Elena (and himself) a new chance at happiness through Orthodox marriage.
She was a prostitute though. Repentance doesn't erase the consequences of that. Even if she was a very nice girl and I really liked her, I would not advise my son to marry a woman with that kind of baggage. Forgiveness is one thing; saddling yourself with her and her baggage for the rest of your life is something entirely different.

You know, I think you're the second man in this thread who has said that Seraphim should have forgiven her (which I think he did) and then married her. Why? I don't understand this. Is it that men tend to think that beautiful women are angels? Or that we women are helpless creatures who can't face the consequences of our own actions? I don't understand. Would you marry a former prostitute, as long as she had repented?
 

PineTreeFarmer

Kingfisher
Woman
Orthodox Inquirer
She was a prostitute though. Repentance doesn't erase the consequences of that. Even if she was a very nice girl and I really liked her, I would not advise my son to marry a woman with that kind of baggage. Forgiveness is one thing; saddling yourself with her and her baggage for the rest of your life is something entirely different.

You know, I think you're the second man in this thread who has said that Seraphim should have forgiven her (which I think he did) and then married her. Why? I don't understand this. Is it that men tend to think that beautiful women are angels? Or that we women are helpless creatures who can't face the consequences of our own actions? I don't understand. Would you marry a former prostitute, as long as she had repented?
loooool Amen.
 
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Kitty Tantrum

Kingfisher
Woman
Catholic
"Happy ending" on this story, I'm not sure I feel that way.

Because it feels sad somehow that the man (Seraphim) of the story who apparently suffered the most in his adult life and thrives the most to obey and please God, one of the most honest men probably in his Parish, ends up, in the short story, alone (as in, not married).

Sure, he has spread happiness around him, by enabling two Orthodox couples to get married, but, himself Seraphim remains single (though yes, loneliness might, or have to, be his cross?) . So, one is left with mixed feelings regarding the end of the story.

Plus, isn't Seraphim's refusal to forgive Elena, somehow and unwillingly tainted with pride? Or, not pride but, stubbornness. Personally I don't really fully understand why he can't, say concretely forgive and give Elena (and himself) a new chance at happiness through Orthodox marriage.
But he does forgive her. He just doesn't want to marry her. I don't see any particular reason why he should want to marry her, or why we should conflate his not wanting to marry her with having not really forgiven her.

I don't see why forgiving her should MAKE him want to marry her, or be willing to marry her because it's what she obviously wants, in spite of not wanting to for himself.

The sin-and-repentance arc is always bittersweet, because we can never undo what we have wrought in our lives.

Elena has her chance at happiness - with a man she did not personally betray.

It is not clear what becomes of Seraphim, just that he is not married at the end of the story. If the insinuation is that he goes on to pursue an unmarried life (as a monk, I suppose?) in accordance with the Orthodox faith, is that really sad? Is that really not giving himself a chance at happiness?

For a man who WANTS to marry and doesn't have an opportunity, I guess that would seem sad, like a consolation prize. But he didn't WANT to marry Elena. She was right there in front of him, and he didn't want her. And I can't blame him. If he goes on to devote himself entirely to God in lieu of marriage, because he realizes it is a more suitable path for him, it does not seem sad to me. I just don't see it.

If a man's only shot at marriage is with a woman who personally cheated on him and then became a prostitute... I would not blame that man for choosing to remain unmarried. To me, that has very little to do with whether he has forgiven.

I honestly think that out of all the men who would find it in themselves to genuinely forgive such a thing, very few would want to marry the woman. I think that would be pretty rare.

Not that it's rare for men to hitch themselves to women who have cheated on them. But I think most cases where that happens, it's not "because his forgiveness was the really really real kind and you can tell because he took her back and that's what you do when you really really truly forgive someone." It's because he doesn't think he can do better. (So actually usually NOT the really real forgiveness.)

To me, it appears simply as though Seraphim knows he can do better than Elena. For that specific man, a single life devoted to God is better than marrying that specific woman - else he'd have married her.

I think that's perfectly valid and does not need to be chalked up to pride or stubbornness just because it is more bittersweet than idealistic.
 

PineTreeFarmer

Kingfisher
Woman
Orthodox Inquirer
I think it's possible to separate "forgive" and "take him back". You can do the first, if only for your own peace of mind, but not do the second because who needs it after he's put it in so many other women. Although I can see how it would be hard to forgive that!

I'm glad too that I already have children, but what a world to raise them in. I have to keep reminding myself that they're God's children even more than they are mine, and He'll take care of them. Otherwise I'd make myself sick worrying about them.
I edited out that whole bit because, well, I do forgive him, but he can't bear his own burdens, let alone tell me what I'm doing wrong AND bear the burden of having to help me fix what I'm doing wrong.
 

Kitty Tantrum

Kingfisher
Woman
Catholic
I have to also say that the romantic idealist in me would much rather see Seraphim maybe kinda sad for a while thinking he'll never find a wife, but at peace and full-steam-ahead with devoting his life to God as a single man... and then God gives him a wife instead. Maybe a girl with an imperfect past but who has learned the correct things. Maybe a girl with a past not totally unlike Elena's - but he's able to accept her as she is because of his own sinful past and his understanding of repentance as it has been put in perspective for him.

Maybe forgiving Elena wasn't supposed to be so he could marry Elena, but so that he could have some groundwork for ultimately accepting a woman who made plenty of mistakes of her own, because at least this new repentant hoe didn't cheat on him.

And maybe seeing that Elena ends up capable of being a loyal and loving wife to someone he knows in spite of her past, rather than ever making him wonder if he made the wrong decision, is just what helps him recognize the loyal, loving wife God was busy raking over the coals of repentance and lining up for him.

If it's going to be the romantic ideal where he ends up married instead of being a monk or whatever, I'd rather see him married to a woman who never betrayed him.

(And Elena should thank God every single day for getting a good husband in spite of wasting so much time being a trifling hoe.)
 

clzoomer

Robin
Orthodox Catechumen
Because it feels sad somehow that the man (Seraphim) of the story who apparently suffered the most in his adult life and thrives the most to obey and please God, one of the most honest men probably in his Parish, ends up, in the short story, alone (as in, not married).

Plus, isn't Seraphim's refusal to forgive Elena, somehow and unwillingly tainted with pride?
Seraphim willingly walked away form Elena. He is no longer bound by his personal desires. It's a story of growth and development, and redemption.

Seraphim DID forgive Elena. He says himself :)

Maybe I'm just looking at it in a more positive light
 

Kitty Tantrum

Kingfisher
Woman
Catholic
Nicodemus is a fool. And lets be honest, if this were a true story (I assumed fiction?) Theodora despite her extra 50 ilbs. would be"ordering up" thirsty males on some app and putting on her show at church.
I lol'd because I have SEEN fat girls bring a new guy to church every other week.

But just because it's common enough to always be happening somewhere, doesn't mean EVERY woman is like that. Theodoras do exist in the real world. :squintlol:
 

zenbear

Chicken
Orthodox
I appreciate the effort, but it's too didactic to work as fiction. It's just your ideas sort of packaged differently, and rings false for that. I don't know why I like listening to or reading you moralize without limit, but reading a sermon thinly veiled as fiction is really hard to stomach.
 

EntWife

Kingfisher
Woman
Orthodox
Yes, so? She is a young woman living in the 21st century after all.
That sounds exactly like a Serbian man I used to know.

He also would leave his paycheck in his desk and wait a month or two to cash it. He said that you have to let them know that you don't need them so they will treat you better.

He was right too, though I wouldn't go to the extent of leaving paychecks in a desk where anyone could do anything to them.
 

Javelin

 
Banned
Orthodox
That sounds exactly like a Serbian man I used to know.

He also would leave his paycheck in his desk and wait a month or two to cash it. He said that you have to let them know that you don't need them so they will treat you better.

He was right too, though I wouldn't go to the extent of leaving paychecks in a desk where anyone could do anything to them.
I was being mildly sarcastic about @marknreprisal interpretation of Theodora, but as @Kitty Tantrum explained, there certainly are those kinds of girls in all Churches. As for cashing the paycheck later, there is also an act of leaving two 50 EUR bills in wallet so that they can "make children".
 

Aboulia

Kingfisher
Orthodox
It was a nice read, I prefer this style to other articles as ideas carry more weight and contain more to chew on when embodied.

You know, I think you're the second man in this thread who has said that Seraphim should have forgiven her (which I think he did) and then married her. Why? I don't understand this. Is it that men tend to think that beautiful women are angels? Or that we women are helpless creatures who can't face the consequences of our own actions? I don't understand. Would you marry a former prostitute, as long as she had repented?

Physical beauty does carry some value, and seems to have some correlation with intelligence, and virtue, otherwise physiognomy wouldn't be a thing. So it would be easier to overlook some things in the face of that. Each person's motivation and experience is different and you'll never quite figure it out, it could be that some people know of people who have reconciled successfully with infidelity, some wanted a typical Hollywood happy ending to a story, some could have cheated in the past and subconciously wanted forgiveness, or perhaps, it's because of Elena's repentance in her youth that it could be overlooked because modern society is a cesspool. Nowadays with Tinder and Onlyfans, you just may end up marrying a former prostitute and not know it.

If I was Seraphim, it would be too much for me to bear to say "Yeah, I'm willing to overlook the past and have that image of that condom and reminders of feelings of betrayal torturing me for the indefinite future." Experiences can be forgiven, but memories aren't easily forgotten. It's the personal aspect of it, more than the physical acts of what she's done that would be hard to live with.
 

Going strong

Hummingbird
Orthodox
Gold Member
She was a prostitute though. Repentance doesn't erase the consequences of that. Even if she was a very nice girl and I really liked her, I would not advise my son to marry a woman with that kind of baggage. Forgiveness is one thing; saddling yourself with her and her baggage for the rest of your life is something entirely different.

You know, I think you're the second man in this thread who has said that Seraphim should have forgiven her (which I think he did) and then married her. Why? I don't understand this. Is it that men tend to think that beautiful women are angels? Or that we women are helpless creatures who can't face the consequences of our own actions? I don't understand. Would you marry a former prostitute, as long as she had repented?

But he does forgive her. He just doesn't want to marry her. I don't see any particular reason why he should want to marry her, or why we should conflate his not wanting to marry her with having not really forgiven her.

I don't see why forgiving her should MAKE him want to marry her, or be willing to marry her because it's what she obviously wants, in spite of not wanting to for himself.

The sin-and-repentance arc is always bittersweet, because we can never undo what we have wrought in our lives.

Elena has her chance at happiness - with a man she did not personally betray.

It is not clear what becomes of Seraphim, just that he is not married at the end of the story. If the insinuation is that he goes on to pursue an unmarried life (as a monk, I suppose?) in accordance with the Orthodox faith, is that really sad? Is that really not giving himself a chance at happiness?

For a man who WANTS to marry and doesn't have an opportunity, I guess that would seem sad, like a consolation prize. But he didn't WANT to marry Elena. She was right there in front of him, and he didn't want her. And I can't blame him. If he goes on to devote himself entirely to God in lieu of marriage, because he realizes it is a more suitable path for him, it does not seem sad to me. I just don't see it.

If a man's only shot at marriage is with a woman who personally cheated on him and then became a prostitute... I would not blame that man for choosing to remain unmarried. To me, that has very little to do with whether he has forgiven.

I honestly think that out of all the men who would find it in themselves to genuinely forgive such a thing, very few would want to marry the woman. I think that would be pretty rare.

Not that it's rare for men to hitch themselves to women who have cheated on them. But I think most cases where that happens, it's not "because his forgiveness was the really really real kind and you can tell because he took her back and that's what you do when you really really truly forgive someone." It's because he doesn't think he can do better. (So actually usually NOT the really real forgiveness.)

To me, it appears simply as though Seraphim knows he can do better than Elena. For that specific man, a single life devoted to God is better than marrying that specific woman - else he'd have married her.

I think that's perfectly valid and does not need to be chalked up to pride or stubbornness just because it is more bittersweet than idealistic.

Well, why do I think that Seraphim should maybe, for this story to end in happiness, marry Elena?

The answers are in the story itself :

1- Apparently, and from many testimonials I've read online, notably here, it's very hard for Orthodox men in the USA to find suitable Orthodox women. There are few good marriable women and they are keenly sought after in the Parishes.

2- Seraphim apparently still has feelings for Elena, quite intense feelings judging from his nervousness.

3- very important, Elena is slim, in the Western world. Making her almost unicorn.

4- Elena has long hair and is feminine. She's cute, too. Only has one, non-Satanic, tattoo. Most other (Western) women have no less than 3 tattoos of which 2 are Satanic. Plus, most have blue and/or short hairs.

5- Very important : Elena seems to honestly repent. She seems really sorry for her past. She wants a new, pious life.

6- her Orthodox faith now seems sincere and quite strong.

7-She's of fertile age. Not currently drugged, apparently healthy at the moment.

8- she's slim, and articulate, making her top 10% in modern Western society.

So, is Seraphim going to find another such opportunity, if he remains in the USA?

Edit : I could add that Seraphim somehow and unknowingly made a mistake too, not everything is Elena's fault, in the past. Elena's weakness should have been foreseen, because modern women are weak and easily tempted.

This mistake, taken from the story, is, if memory serves me right, letting Elena live in a shared house with like 5 other young people. Serious mistake here, because, though young himself, Seraphim should have protected Elena from such a cesspool situation that was doomed, in the Western world, to bring sinful problems. No woman should live in shared houses with partying youngsters.

So, well, personnally I'm ashamed to say that (when I was living in the West) I would have taken a repenting Elena back, providing she seemed sincere in her new pious way of life. And I would have forgiven the stupid rose tattoo. And (shamefully I know) I would have buried the sad condom memory deep, not to be spoken of again. All this because of what the situation in the Western world is, regarding modern marriable women.
 
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Papaya

Peacock
Gold Member
Well, why do I think that Seraphim should maybe, for this story to end in happiness, marry Elena?

The answers are in the story itself :

1- Apparently, and from many testimonials I've read online, notably here, it's very hard for Orthodox men in the USA to find suitable Orthodox women. There are few good marriable women and they are keenly sought after in the Parishes.

2- Seraphim apparently still has feelings for Elena, quite intense feelings judging from his nervousness.

3- very important, Elena is slim, in the Western world. Making her almost unicorn.

4- Elena has long hair and is feminine. She's cute, too. Only has one, non-Satanic, tattoo. Most other (Western) women have no less than 3 tattoos of which 2 are Satanic. Plus, most have blue and/or short hairs.

5- Very important : Elena seems to honestly repent. She seems really sorry for her past. She wants a new, pious life.

6- her Orthodox faith now seems sincere and quite strong.

7-She's of fertile age. Not currently drugged, apparently healthy at the moment.

8- she's slim, and articulate, making her top 10% in modern Western society.

So, is Seraphim going to find another such opportunity, if he remains in the USA?

Edit : I could add that Seraphim somehow and unknowingly made a mistake too, not everything is Elena's fault, in the past. Elena's weakness should have been foreseen.

This mistake, taken from the story, is, if memory serves me right, letting Elena live in a shared house with like 5 other young people. Serious mistake here, because, though young himself, Seraphim should have protected Elena from such a cesspool situation that was doomed, in the Western world, to bring sinful problems. No woman should live in shared houses with partying youngsters.
She cheated on him...The End
 

Going strong

Hummingbird
Orthodox
Gold Member
She cheated on him...The End

In a good, virtuous, decent and serious time and place, sure.

But in modern Western world?... If one doesn't forgive women's past sins, in the current Western world, good luck finding a wife (without travelling to more serious, normal, virtuous and Conservative places, of which few remain).
 
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