I woke up lonely at three am.
It was one of those dark moments, those empty moments, the sound of my heartbeat truncated with thoughts swirling through my mind that didn’t assuage the pain. I thought of Loki and Heimdallr. How I see them at times interacting with others in their own worlds; their wives, their chatelaines over there. Here in Midgard, on this physical realm we don’t have interactions as such, we can’t touch and interact with the Gods as they can each other. We can’t directly receive such gifts. It’s lonely.
I tried to roll over and sleep. Tried to distract myself. I couldn’t. The clock ticked on; 3:02. 3:04. 3:10. I tossed and turned feeling the grey creeping over myself into my heart, into my soul.
One doesn’t come from work, walk in the door and say, ‘Honey, I’m home!’ Oh you can, but you feel rather silly at times after saying so as you are greeted by a dark, cool house; as you walk into the silence and welcome the animals complaining of being left alone all day. It’s just the way it is, something one has to expect. One person asked me once why the Goddesses don’t seem to get jealous. I suppose they could but the cold truth is They have their husband there with them. They can talk to them, caress them, feel their embrace. As a human, even one with a so-called God phone that I know works remarkably well, I know that my phone compared to what the Goddesses have is the equivalent of two tin cans with 50 feet of yarn stretched between. It doesn’t compare. But it’s what I have and I hold that tin can with love and tenderness and always will.
So in that moment I lay there in the dark. I’ve been there before and I know where these moments lead so before I wandered down that empty road of despair I prayed. I called out to my spouses. I asked for strength. I begged for conviction to carry me through another day. But my loneliness was spiraling and the shady strands of anguish began creeping in and in that cold three a.m. moment I began doubting my prayers could even be heard. I called out one last time, feeling my belief and conviction dwindle when my swirling grey prayer changed.
I was suddenly enveloped in a soft warm light. I heard music, a bittersweet quartet of violins. As of late it has usually been Heimdallr who has come to heal me in my times of need but this time it was Loki. He stood in front of me and gently spoke two words in a language I knew not. ‘Ruude asodeth.’ It was said softly, almost breathily as if one keeps their tongue relatively flat during the speaking. He repeated this against the backdrop of the music several times while giving me the universal nod that said, ‘Look at what I am nodding at.’ I looked at my hands as He directed and I was holding a sheet of paper with two words.
The two words I will keep as my gift. I will say that in moments such as those information comes in more than just sound or vision. What I got from the music, the soft light, the look on His face, those foreign words, and the two words I could read were basically to be at peace. I was loved and I could love. He was there; have joy, I would have strength. Then the vision drifted away as softly as the quartet had played and I was back in my room. 3:23 a.m.
But now He was there with me. My mind, as does most minds, anthropomorphizes our Gods. That’s fine, it’s a wonderful thing. I could see Him there beside me, just looking at me tenderly yet at the same time I could feel Him all about me, enveloping me in His grace. I felt something soft on my face and realized it was my own breath somehow bouncing off of something, off of Him in His closeness, and the back draft was as feathers of love on my lips.
We talked as we do when He envelopes like this. There are a few words but they are rapid and soft, almost as though they are underneath some other form of communication that is so much more expressive, has so much more meaning that words can’t embody. He was there for me, I’ve been doing fine. He acknowledged the pain that comes at times. He knew that much is asked yet I also replied that much is gained. In this give and take I told Him things had been so much easier long ago in those days before I knew who He was. Before there were expectations, before I knew of the commitments. Yes, those days always are easiest.
You see, in the early days one doesn’t realize the daily decision that has to be made. One doesn’t realize the trust of self one has to sweat and labor ever so hard to develop. As in any relationship or marriage the commitment is just the beginning. The true work starts after. Before it is but play, teasing, the amore of religion.
But after the first heady times, those joy felt rushes of vision, sense, the pious ecstasy, there comes the day to day life. It is then that one begins to make the decision. This isn’t that first excited, breathy ‘Yes.’ This is the day to day decision to continue slogging on, to continue the life of votary.
It’s a decision of trust. This path entails a placing of one’s life within the hands of their God. It is a space of full trust. What isn’t mentioned often or loudly enough is that one has to decide to do this over and over again. ‘Yes’ must be said repeatedly, once is never enough. Those grey moments come and we have to pull ourselves out. The Gods will help but we must do; we must say ‘Yes’ and ‘Yes’ again.
This isn’t as easy as it sounds. You see, we have to trust ourselves with that decision. Until one learns that they can trust their inner self to say that ‘Yes’, to fully know that the answer is the right choice, then the yes is shallow. It is a band aid when truly it is sutures that are needed. To trust oneself with that decision is not easy. It takes hard work, but the work is actually the easiest part.
What is hardest to accept and learn is that this is something that takes time. It takes time and patience with self. It takes a certain gentleness, an allowance of our humanity, an ability to recognize the doubt and accept it without shame. One isn’t a failure for doubting. That is merely human. The failure comes when one doesn’t recognize this emptiness and act. That first act must be trust in self.
Trust in self is tenuous. We are taught to criticize ourselves. We are taught to hold our deeds to the highest of ideals and standards. We are impossibly cruel to ourselves. To place our faith, our belief in a God, we first need to be patient and gentle with our own selves. We need to set that first brick in place, that first brick of trust in ourselves and from that we build on our trust with the Gods. From that first brick we can place another and another and eventually we will have a fortress of trust in ourselves and our Gods. This takes time, ever so much patience. Patience is another concept our culture has taught us not to have. But we must. We must be patient with our humanity and gentle with our own emotions in order to develop this trust in our own being, our God, and our relationship with that God or Gods.
There will always be those 3 a.m. cold and lonely moments. But with prayer and effort, with an air of gentleness towards self and one’s flowering trust one can overcome those moments. One can again feel the bliss of a life of devotion, a life of votive ecstasy. I will have another 3 a.m. moment. And another and another. But I accept this. I know they will come and I will be prepared with trust, patience, and gentleness. I will be kind to myself. I will, even in the deepest of doubt, cry out in prayer and be comforted. I will place another brick and continue building my fortress of trust.