Greetings, and welcome back to Wyrd Words. Keeping the Thor in Thursdays, every other week here on Agora!
Today we will be continuing our newest series: “Pagan Life Lessons”. For those of you who may have missed our last article, this series is a bit of a break from our usual (community centric) content. We are a people of stories, and how those stories influence our values and spirituality is an important part of who we are. Each of us can find our own lessons to be learned from the old ways; these are just a few ways that those stories have helped to improve the quality of my life.
Most of us can agree that 24 hours really is an unacceptably short amount of time to get things done in a day. Most of us work at least 8 hour days, and sadly a certain amount of sleep is really non-negotiable. That’s two thirds of our daily lives, GONE. For many of us, those final few hours of every day are spent in a mad scramble to conquer a to-do list that’s so long it would put Jörmungandr to shame. Sometimes those to-do lists are so intimidating that the very idea of trying to fit in something new seems not only impossible, but INSANE.
How can we focus on our life goals when life itself seems bound and determined to prevent us from ever having time to devote to them? It’s easy to lose sight of our hopes and dreams when our schedules seem to be overflowing with distractions. The more we put off the pursuit of our goals, the more difficult they are to obtain. The more difficult they seem, the less inclined we are to begin the journey to their completion. It’s a frustratingly cyclical rut that can seem impossible to escape at times; however, it’s not unconquerable.
Life Lesson #2: Real rewards require sacrifice.
As I mentioned last time, the old ways consistently remind us how important it is to remember what we’re really fighting for. Let’s face it, life will always be busy. If we keep putting things off until we “have time”, then it’s probably never going to happen. The key is to discover and prioritize those things in life which we really find most important to us. What do you REALLY want?
Believe it or not, for most people, that question is harder to answer then you’d imagine. Think of all the times that you’ve asked somebody what they want to do with their life. How many of them had really put effort towards that goal? How many times have we all heard statements like “Well, I’d love to open a restaurant some day, but I just don’t know how”. How many times have we said it ourselves? I know I have, and there’s always a second half of the phrase that I don’t want to admit to myself.“I want to learn to play the banjo, but I just don’t have time.” –Because season 2 of House of Cards is on Netflix.
“I want to learn to read Old Norse, but I’ve been so busy.” –With playing Minecraft at 1 A.M.
“I would love to finish writing my book.” –But I don’t get to spend enough time with my wife as it is.
“I was going to do…”
but spent all my money on…
“I really would like to…”
but then I wouldn’t get to sleep in…
This doesn’t mean we’re being disingenuous; I might REALLY love the idea of starting that restaurant! However, we can make a conscious choice about how we prioritize our time. Every time I turn on Netflix rather than practice my banjo, I am actively deciding to make Netflix the priority at that moment. This isn’t necessarily always a bad thing, but it does mean that I have nobody but myself to blame for not getting my practice in.
That’s where Lesson #2 comes in. Real rewards require SACRIFICE. Worthwhile pursuits take both time and effort. If I want to learn to play something as complex as the banjo, I need to sacrifice some of my leisure time on Netflix. If I want to get my degree, I need to be willing to sacrifice my nights and weekends (not to mention MONEY) in order to fit in homework and study time. We are only given a finite number of hours in this world and it is up to us to determine how we use them.
My faith taught me that everything has a cost. In every story where something of value is gained, a price had to be payed. Odin valued wisdom, and gave his eye to achieve it. Tyr valued security, and sacrificed his hand to obtain it. Thor wanted his hammer back, and had to let go of some of his pride in order to get it.
What do you really want? What are you willing to give in order to make it happen?