Well, to be honest, I’ve been drowning myself in SecondLife. If you don’t know what SecondLife is – don’t look it up. Unless you just want a reason to ignore what’s going on around you. I got started on SL a year ago when the Best Friend (Bubba) moved up here and it’s a fun thing, depending on where you get involved. But it takes up a LOT of time. Unlike WoW or some other online computer games, the basis of SL is that you are creating a person who interacts with other people from all over the world, quite literally a second life. Within the greater game, there are smaller subcultures (so to speak) where you can either just hang out and get to know people, or participate in many different types of role play. Which is what drew me in. I’ve been involved in online role play since I was in high school – so over 10 years now – though my preferred type was forum based, where you posted a long piece explaining what your character was doing, and then waited for the others involved to respond. If you happened to be on at the same time, this might move quickly. Or, if you weren’t, it would take months to pass a single night. And it was fabulous. I loved it. So when I was told I could do something similar, but much more quickly, and there was fighting, too?! I had to try. And it has become very addicting.
But the best thing about SL, is you can go there and step away from the problems you’re having in real life. Now, over the last year, we’ve had several things happen – most notably being that our truck has finally kicked the bucket and we’re hoping that selling it for scrap nets us something. We’ve been making due on three jobs for one vehicle thanks to the fact that the Best Friend lives next door. And we’ve all been in a hole trying to get this sorted. But believe it or not, that’s not what chased me into SL. You may well recall, if you’ve followed my blog for a while, that we’ve been through several very had times trying to find our place in this world. And believe it or not, it hasn’t been that bad. Every time something has come up, we’ve had a small miracle happen for us, either through friends and family, or a windfall we had not expected.
So what finally chased me into this time-suck known as SL? It’s been three years since we started trying to have children. Three years since we quit smoking, cold turkey, in Chicago. And where do I currently stand? I’m again smoking almost half a pack a day and I have no children. I’m afraid to go to the doctor because I’m afraid that they will just tell me what I’ve feared for so long now. That I am incapable of having children. I know, it’s dumb, but there it is. I don’t want someone to tell me for sure that my hopes and dreams are empty and impossible.
And all of this has translated to my spiritual life and – obviously – to my blog. The last real celebration that we had was for Samhain – we didn’t even do anything for Beltane this year! Where does that put me spiritually? This is something that was weighing on my heart for the last little bit. Now, I could make a joke here to lighten the mood, but I want you to know, I really struggled with this failure within myself. Am I not really as spiritual as I thought I was? Do my beliefs mean so little me? And, of course, every time I’d have these thoughts, I’d retreat back into my game to ignore them. Just like with my refusal to go to the doctor, I didn’t want to take the time to find out and be told that not only was I a bad Christian, I’m now a bad Pagan.
But recently, I made myself step away from the computer and really think about this. I asked myself some hard questions, and then I asked my Gods. Being the human that I am, I had expected Them to turn Their backs on me. But I learned something that I think those of us from a Christian background have forgotten. The wonder of grace. I called on my Gods, and They responded, with all the love and enthusiasm that has always been a part of my connection to them. As I type this, I feel Their attentions descend upon me once more, and I feel that overwhelming sense of love and the comfort of spirit that my connection to Them has always brought me. And it brings tears to my eyes. You see, over the past many months, I’ve failed in my spiritual PRACTICE, but I have never lost faith in Them, never actually lost my connection. Because even when we let our lives overwhelm us – or completely flee to a made-up world – our Gods are always there. And, more importantly, They don’t abandon us just because we stop following the steps of our chosen path.
Now, don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying to just drop everything – because that’s not how this should be done. I still have offerings to make because – just as when you hurt a friend and feel the need to do something for them – I am the one that stopped reaching out to that connection, that stopped doing my part in my relationship to my Gods. But when I called, They all responded. None of Them turned Their backs from me and removed Their presence or favor from my life.
I can’t promise that I’ll be around more. I can’t promise that things will be changing around here. But I can promise you this, I go forward knowing that of all the things I fear, I have no need to fear losing my connection to my Gods because I have run like a scared child to hide in the dark. And that, my friends, is my miracle today.