Oh…”evil.” Back again?
Today was weird. Here’s the synopsis (courtesy of a Tweet I wrote this morning).
Hahahahahahahahahahha. I’m so clever and awesome. Look at how much I’ve grown over the years! Look at how nicely I handled that! Look at my clever Tweet and all the love that came with it! (Thanks for that, all, by the way….)
Yeah. It happened to me today. Again.
Yes, I get strange emails offering me salvation if I would take down my wicked website and stop reading the demon oracle of Tarot. Yes, friends from Catholic school and summer Bible camp have quietly dropped me from their social media portals when they’ve gotten deeper into their faiths. Super nervous relatives have cornered me after Thanksgiving dinners to whisper that they’re praying for me to “come back around.” Okay, fine. I guess those people all mean well. Yes, I’ve shouted my classes over “Christian” protestor chants at Pagan Pride Days. Whatever. I got over a hundred responses to my tweet this morning, mostly from people who said, “WHO CARES????? WHO CARES???? EVIL EVIL US US US!!! HOORAY!!!” Yes. This is how I feel, too, in the aforementioned circumstances when it really has no bearing on me or mine or how we live our lives.
But then there is the time when the close friend–the kind who’s let you pass out on their floor a dozen times, the one whose calls you took in the work bathroom when they got their hearts broken, the one whom you plan parties with and coordinate your outfits–has one too many whiskey-cokes and slurs that “they aren’t really supposed to be your friend because of what you do….”
Or there’s the guy who invites you to speak on a panel for religious writers. You gladly do so and do a great job. You get laughter and applause and lots of people there start following you on the Twitterverse. And that guy (also when he’s a little drunk later), confesses that when he put your name forward, the organizer didn’t even want you to be on the panel and had threatened to cancel the whole thing…but he’s certainly glad he stuck to his guns because you were great and “totally proved his point that people like you aren’t evil at all!”
And then there’s the time when a co-conspirator on an endeavor flips that Jekyll/Hyde switch. Normally, you and this co-conspirator are a team…devising the same schemes, laughing at the same inside jokes, rolling your eyes together in unison. But one day (and they’re not even drinking!!!) they announce that you and your spiritual practices are hateful and abhorrent.
You expect it from sign-waving protestors. You even expect it from your deeply-concerned and religious family members. It’s the surprise of it all. I think that’s where the real ick comes from. The third one happened to me today. I don’t feel hurt or sad. Not really. I just feel tired.Glaciers are melting. Forests are set to burn again this summer. Police, with impunity, are gunning down Black people. Children and teenagers are practicing active shooter drills in schools. People with power and money are openly suppressing our democratic system in order to shape it to our liking, again, with impunity. Hate groups are being normalized and benefits meant to help poor children are being systematically crushed. I heard a talk by Marian Wright Edelman this year. Ms. Edelman began her activist career at five years old by switching the signs on the segregated water fountains and she says this is the most evil time she has witnessed in this country’s history. Thinking of all of that evil…and someone still wants to point the finger at me? For lighting candles? For drumming in the backyard and hopping over the tiny bonfire my husband build for our Beltane this year?
I think that’s the real tragedy. The name calling is disappointing. The rude reveal never feels good. But it’s truly sad that there are people blind enough to actual evil going on out there to spend that energy pointing a finger at me.
I can’t change them. But I can do things for me.
Christians forgive, or are supposed to, anyway. I’ve never been sure what Witches, Wiccans, Pagans, etc. are “supposed” to do. Some of us forgive, I guess. Many of us don’t. What do my beliefs tell me to do? I thought about this all afternoon. As someone who connects with the Earth as the primary guide, I step back and look at the whole “ecosystem.” This person is not part of my life at home. They don’t sit at my dinner table, they won’t stand over me while I light my candles and commune with my Goddesses tonight. When we do interact, our connection is strong and the efforts we share are important. They clearly have some growing to do. I can find compassion because there was a time when I was scared of Witchcraft, myself. Maybe even as a young Christian I said something hurtful to a closeted Witch. I found a freedom that they do not have and there is no sense in me trying to force it out of them any more than it would make sense to bust open the azalea buds on the bush outside hoping they will bloom faster. Do flower buds fear the sun before they open to it? Maybe. The sun burns and maybe could be thought of as evil. At the same time, it does a lot of good. I’m no sun, but I do try to do good, even when I periodically (and accidentally…) light things on fire. Figuratively. Most of the time.
Today was hard and tonight, I am tired. But tomorrow, I’m going back in again with a focus on the greater ecosystem at hand, and not worry about the bud that may just need more time.