Have you ever heard of the phrase ‘like cutting through butter with a hot knife’? If so, you will know that it describes the ease with which a specific action or activity can be performed, and since I prepare sandwiches for my kids each morning, I know that having soft butter and a regular knife, or cold butter with a hot knife, enables me to scoop and spread the butter on my kids sandwiches with ease.
Interestingly, when younger people are taught about living an Orthodox life by their mentors and teachers, there is a temptation for those mentors and teachers to give the impression that living an Orthodox life in the modern world is – to use this same phrase – like cutting through butter with a hot knife. They airbrush the challenges, avoid discussing the difficulties (other than when they wish to say how they can be easily overcome), and they don’t mention the frustrations.
The reality, however, is that living an Orthodox life is – for many people – like trying to cut through and spread hard butter with a cold plastic knife. It is hard to cut. Oftentimes you cannot scoop the amount of butter that you want and need. And when you spread the cold hard butter on your bread, it often tears the bread so that what you are left with is a torn piece of bread with lumps of butter in some places, and none in others.
But while this can be incredibly frustrating when this occurs, with some thinking and planning it is possible to come up with some practical solutions of spreading cold butter more successfully, and in the same vein, with some thinking and planning it is also possible to come up with some practical solutions to living an Orthodox life in the modern world.