Edit: Sorry this post disappeared after i initially posted it. Something had gone rather spectacularly wrong with the formatting, and i needed a couple minutes to sort it out. Yay technology!
I went to the Rune-Finder to ask for guidance. I’d become stuck in a mire, and unsure how to get out.
“Why isn’t this working? Where should i be looking? What should i be doing?”
He shows me a rune. (I suppose i shouldn’t be surprised)
“Uruz. ‘Strength’? I need more strength?”
He shakes his head, long dark hair streaked with silver swaying.
Ur, He corrects.
“I don’t understand.”
His gaze is twice as sharp, for having only one eye.
What is your original nature?
(This is why i never took jukai in Zen. Koans make me want to pull my lower lip up over the top of my head and then swallow.)
“I don’t understand what You’re asking.”
There is a braid in His hair; he twines it between two fingers, His head tilted thoughtfully to one side.
Before you began listening to the voices of others telling you who you ‘should’ be, who were you? Before family and friends and society began to heap high the burden of expectation that bends you now, when you could still stand straight-backed and look in the mirror and see—not everyone else’s hopes and fears, their desires for achievement by proxy and vicarious worth—just your own fledgeling self, with all its abundant promise. Just you. Who were you then?
I don’t cry in front of many people. It was taught to me very early that tears are a shame and a weakness, a failing, a flaw that if it cannot be destroyed should at the very least be hidden. But i’ve never hidden tears from Him; even if it were possible, it’s never occurred to me to try. His gaze softens only slightly.
I will not tell you who to be; you’ve had far too much of that already. But I will ask, who do you think you are?
“We are our deeds, aren’t we? But if i haven’t done anything worthwhile with my life, then that makes me nobody. I’ve wasted—”
He says nothing, and the look He gives me isn’t even remotely angry. It doesn’t need to be.
The words die and i fall to my knees because in this moment something shifts in Him, and i am resoundingly reminded that my Gods are many, but He is my King.
I do not ask who you want to be, who you would choose to be. You no longer know how to answer that question honestly; your wishes for yourself are so entwined with the internalised desires and expectations of others that you cannot separate them now. This is not necessarily bad—but, He adds with an almost-smile, it has become too much noise. You can no longer hear your own voice over the din inside your head.
“But how can i know what to do when i don’t even know what i want?”
Who you want to be is not the right question, yet. Who are you, right now?
Before i can even begin to go through the litany of identities in my head—who my parents are, who my spouse is, what i studied, where i’ve lived, where i’ve worked, and so on—He waves it all away.
Before all that; beneath all that. Who are you when there are no voices telling you who to be, when no one is watching? What is your first thought when you wake? What is your first feeling, before your mind remembers what you ‘should’ feel? What are you like when you are unafraid? Who are you when you don’t mean to be? What do you do when you cannot help it?
I am brought back to my feet, a weathered hand so large it makes me feel small pressed to the back of my neck, a heavy brow bending down to touch my own. He breathes; i breathe.