Blake M. Bailey is a 20 year old Orthodox Christian from West Virginia, survivor of abuse, overcomer of drug abuse and alcoholism, loyal friend, loving companion, and spiritual infant. He is employed by Dish Network as a Customer Service Representative, with interests in camping, fishing, hiking, mentoring, music, monasticism, traveling, self-growth, reading, learning, and many things in-between. A bit of an observant introvert, Blake is more of a listener than a talker, and tends to see the bigger picture in the smaller frame, and at times, spiritual meanings in mundane activities. He’s a jack of all trades, master of none, having worked as a cashier and courtesy clerk, grocery stocker, laborer, butcher, and even a burger flipper.

Yet all of these things are simply externals, bits and pieces of what makes up the feeble stirrings I’ve created in this life I’ve been given. In all, above all, and beyond all, I am a great sinner, who strives for grace, and has come to understand the unending, ineffable abyss of Love that has been shown through God, Holy and Exalted, humbling Himself from the greatest height of Heaven, to below the hierarchy of angels, to below all men as an infant — paradise to a manger. He taught us in the flesh and inspired our faith for 33 years, before enduring the ultimate humility of the Cross, in which such an unworthy one as myself could draw near to the throne of grace and find comfort within the embrace of the Uncreated.

A divine Love, unconditional, merciful, deeper than any logic, theology or attempt at understanding.

It’s this love which illuminates every darkened corner of our hearts and spirits, which brings to mind the higher calling, the remembrance of God and His commandments, the path of righteousness, the passion to walk it, the strength to bear it, the grace which upholds us when we struggle or fall. It’s this love that comforts us in every storm, even if we’ve been allowed to stand first in the rain to appreciate the shelter and warmth in His grace. It’s this love which exalts fishermen into Apostles, prostitutes into Disciples, and breathes spiritual life into those who had none. This love assures paradise to those who seek Him with the faith of a child, and asks in return only to love as He loves. It’s by this love that He sees us not only as flesh and bones, spirit and dust, but the children of God and heirs of Heaven.

It’s by this love that grace and forgiveness is stronger than sin and failure. It’s by this love that He has allowed us to repent, and by this love that He grants us the grace to do so. It’s by this love that we exist, and not only exist, but truly live with meaning. It’s by this love that we are constantly blessed, never needing for a moment to worry or care for the future, for by this love He will meet each and every need and give us our hearts desires. For, by His love, if we are in Christ He is the author of those desires and He knows our hearts. It’s by this love that God the Father can see us sinful beings as sons, as kings, as priests, as those who are blessed enough to go forth in His name without pain or shame; knowing that by His love we are perfectly safe…

… For by His love, though life may be passing and our enemies may be strong, though we are not always free from trials and pain, though we may still have to endure the hardships of life, shame or ridicule, heartbreak or death, He will never once leave our side. He will hold us in the palm of His Hand, He will shelter us under His Wing, He will cast our tattered garments stained with iniquity aside and make us again white as snow, and by His love, ask us only to love Him and others as He has loved us.

God, teach me to love. Teach me who I am, who I’m meant to be, who You’re making me. Open doors, make the path, bless the way, grant me strength, take me back to when I was strong. Help me grow, and help me to help others grow. Grant me Lord the fruits of your calling, that I may be salt and light, the light of the world, radiating the Love you taught us to share, inspiring others to partake of that same calling. Bless Father those who place their trust in you for all blessings come from you, reassure Your children that as you care for even the birds in the sky, how much more You will meet the needs of Your chosen. Grant Lord that I will live a life worthy of Your name, teach me faith, teach me humility, teach me patience, teach me discernment.

There may be times when I am the poster child of how not to live the righteous life. There may be times when I let carnality overcome spirituality. There may be times when I’m I do something right, but never a time when I’m not a sinner. Grace sustains me. I am imperfect. I can by no means attain salvation alone; being saved requires a Savior. I may have a lot of pent up anger, I might have a past I’m not proud of, and I might have let it sneak into the present more than once — I might be barely creeping along this straight and narrow way, even stumbling; but I try to place one foot in front of the other. I first experienced God when I was too weak to pick myself up, and I’ve come to find that that’s precisely when I always experience His presence. In the words of Saint Paul, “when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I am weak. I am a sinner. If you’ve seen even the slightest work of righteousness comes from me, glorify God Who’s grace brought that to life. Pray to Him that His grace might keep me afloat. I was lost without Him, I will always be lost without Him, and it’s my hope to find myself lost within Him. Less of me, more of You.

And who am I, in comparison to Him? In the words of the forerunner, I must decrease, and God must increase.

Miserable, wretched, poor, blind, and naked, but…

I will boast in the Lord.

10 Responses to “About Blake”


  1. Hi Blake. Welcome to blogland! I skipped out of forums last Lent and now prefer this quieter venue. Good to see you around again!

  2. Isaac Says:

    Hi Andrea, glory to Jesus Christ. Thank you so much for your welcome. I can definitely see why you prefer this to forums, it’s really growing on me again too. Blessed Nativity to you. May the Child be born again within you.

    I’ll be reading!

  3. Anna Says:

    dear Blake,

    as a Virginian I have to say this question may be borne of centuries-old stereotype (;-)), but what does the Orthodox landscape in my sister state look like? are there few or many Orthodox churches? are you quite isolated or are there Orthodox communities?

    I was going to ask you to share how you came to Orthodoxy, but read your ‘going home’ page just in time. I look forward to reading!

    in Christ,
    the handmaid,
    anna

  4. Isaac Says:

    Anna,

    The Orthodox life in West Virginia is present, if a little scattered. My home is St. Mary’s in Bluefield. We have Holy Cross Monastery in Wayne, and a sister church in Beckley. As far as I know, that’s it. Of course over in North Carolina we’ve got a few parishes, and there’s St. Nicholas’ on VA Beach.

    My church is right on East River Mountain, off of 460. I *love* it. You may have noticed a few pics of it a few entries ago on my blog.

    I will share how I came to Orthodoxy soon, I’m so tied up for the next 5 weeks in job training it’s not even funny, but I promise the story is worth waiting for.

    Keep in touch!

    In XC,
    Blake


  5. Blake, I keep thinking of your saying, “May the Child be born again within you”. That means more to me than you know. May He ever be born in me, and you too.

    p.s. I hope you don’t mind that I added you to my blogroll.

  6. Wei-Hsien Wan Says:

    Blake,

    Happened on your blog while reading Fr. Stephen’s. Nice job. I see you have a love for St. Isaac of Nineveh and the Desert Fathers, and look forward to reading your blog.

    W.H.

  7. Blake Says:

    Andrea: You know I don’t mind. In fact I’m flattered. Thank so you much.

    W.H.: Glory to God. Thank you. Yes, I do have a great love for Saint Isaac, I’ll be taking his name at Holy Baptism, and I knew he was my Patron the moment I was blessed enough to have his words burn into my soul forever — and I try to live my life according to the desert wisdom. I fail. Miserably. But I try.

    I’ll be reading. Thanks again.

  8. carolamustard Says:

    Blake,
    I’m very impressed with the work and effort! I must admit i am not very well versed in the orthodox religion. Keep up the good work!

    Carol……your old teacher


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