This post was originally written on my old blog on Monday, February 13, 2012. I find it interesting that almost exactly one year later, I find myself thinking of this post again and deciding to share it with you all here.
Barry is not doing well.
I’m upset. Deeply so. Two weeks ago, I had no idea how strongly I’d attached myself to the little basil plant. When I came home today, my heart broke – the main stem had fallen over, the stem itself wilted in the middle. I’m worried he won’t make it. I essentially know he won’t, but I don’t want to accept that reality.
My mother called today to check up on me. I’d called earlier to let her know about my medications, but she wasn’t able to talk, so she called me back. Maybe she felt I wasn’t doing so well, not just physically but spiritually as well. Women in my maternal line seem to have that ability. Enhanced empathy towards those we’re close to, able to sense drastic changes in emotions and a feeling of Wrongness when someone is doing poorly. My mother likes telling the story of when she was going through childbirth with either me or my brother. As she cried out “Mommy!” when they took her through the doors, my father looked at the clock. Miles away, my grandmother sat bolt upright from the middle of a dead sleep and told my grandfather to drive to the hospital.
As I spoke to my mother today, I held back tears and choked sobs. I didn’t want to let her know I was upset. She told me of things going on at home (furnace needs to be replaced, so the workmen will be traipsing through my room tomorrow, much to the chagrin of my OCD) and I guess she noticed I was being quiet and my voice was cracking at times. She asked me if I was okay, and at first I managed to convince her I was. It wasn’t until she had finished up and asked me if I was sure I was okay that I broke, trying hard not to sob into the phone. Concerned, she asked me what was wrong, if there was anything she could do to help me. I finally managed to tell her, after many attempts, that it was spiritual or religious, that she wouldn’t understand.
My mother is an agnostic/Deist. She believes there’s a God, of the Christian faith, and that there’s not much else she can do to prove or disprove its existence. She doesn’t believe in church much, and thinks most Christians/Christianity is more than it needs to be. I’m lucky enough that she accepts my faith as valid for me – I haven’t had the negative consequences many people have stated in response to their “coming out of the broom closet” to their families. My father, too, is accepting. They both just acknowledge it as a part of me, and they actually know/have noticed more than I initially gave them credit for, as shown by my mother’s purchase of the pentacle that now sits on my altar. They don’t know everything there is, and I don’t expect them to. It’s just nice that they don’t try to force me to be something I’m not.
Even still, I realized today that I don’t much talk to my parents about my spirituality. Though I’d like to, I realize now. Because when I finally managed to tell my mother that my problem(s) were spiritual/religious, I realized she had absolutely no idea, no fundamental knowledge as to what I might be going through right now. And that’s my fault for never talking to her about it.
Religion was never discussed at my house during my childhood. It wasn’t hidden, but it wasn’t thrown around. My mother likes to joke that we were “raised heathen,” as in the secular sense of no religious background, not the religious Norse-pantheon I know Heathen to mean today. (Interesting how much religious terminology has seeped into our every day language, but that’s grounds for another post.)
How am I supposed to explain to my mother that, lately, it seems that everything I touch in my religious life turns to ash, withers away and dies, breaks and is otherwise ruined?
How am I supposed to explain the inner heartache and despair I feel when I pray to my god Anubis, whom I’ve known for over a decade, and all I hear is soul-searing, heart-deafening silence?
How am I supposed to explain to her that I’ve felt spiritually dead since October, what is normally the time of year I feel the most alive, reveling in the lore and the thinning of the Veil, the time I feel the most like a Witch and a Pagan?
How am I supposed to explain to her that I’ve been searching and searching, to no avail, for over a year for more meaning to my life, only to be rebuffed at every turn?
How am I supposed to explain the heartbreak I felt when I turned around to face my little basil plant and found the exact thing I had been fearful of and dreading I’d find all day?
How am I supposed to explain this feeling of going through the motions, but persisting and trying to deepen my path, to dig down into the roots of the Earth and pull up the shining spirit that I know is meant for me, to reach into the roiling heart of the Universe and pull out that part destined for me, meant for me, supposed to be for me, that part which has waited for me since it and I were first forged in the thoughts of the Universe and all that is Fate or Divine within it, yet every time I try, I come up short?
And how am I supposed to explain how all of this makes me feel and why it is valid because it means Something to Me?
How do I explain the everlasting terror and heart-wrenching sorrow I experience whenever I reach for the pendant hanging from my neck and feel a raven instead of a crescent moon?
And how do I explain all of these to someone whose god is completely different from mine, of a different faith, someone who has none of the same experiences I do with the Divine and who is just as skeptical as I am when it comes to faith and trust?
And worst of all, how do I explain that it is all worth it in the end, or at least I hope it is, and it is that very small butterfly of hope that I cling to as I drag myself day-in and day-out through the muck and the mud of Obstacles and Challenges and Fear knowing that, hopefully, one day, I won’t wake up and find out that it’s all been for naught and that every tear I shed and every scream I released and every moment I’ve felt dead inside while clinging to this idea that I’m not crazy, that I have experienced these things, that the Path is meant to be walked, even if I find myself stumbling through the woods, blind and deaf and dumb, torn asunder and wrenched apart inch by bleeding, bloody inch, sacrificing blood and bone and breath just to find some tiny breadcrumb showing me that I am going the right way?