Story time.

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As I am waiting for our surrogate to give birth, I’m renting a house in Sarasota. The father of the child I’m expecting was out playing Pokemon Go, and as I am good at cooking, I’m getting a jump on cooking for the big family dinner on Thursday.

Here’s what I didn’t know: he turned the little widget on the doorknob that prevents the outside part from turning.

So, at around 9:45pm, I take out the garbage, turn around, and find myself locked out with the keys (including the car keys) and my phone on the other side of the door. I can’t call my husband or the neighbor, Jack, who my landlord gave the spare key.

But it’s cool, I think. I’ll wait. I mean, how long can one human play Pokemon for? And when he returns, I can use his phone.

15 minutes go by, and the man has not returned.

Now, of course, as a mystical Polytheist, I cannot stop myself from wondering what deity I pissed off. And being a magician, I argue back at myself that I took no actions recently that I deem unethical, inappropriate, or unwarranted.

Fuck it, I think to myself. I’m cold and I have to pee. I’m solving this.

The first thing I do is walk around the building, attempting to assess my chances of breaking in. The screens don’t slide. I would literally have to destroy them to get them out. The back door is just as locked as the front door.

I look around for anything I can use to MacGyver my way in, but these yards are immaculately manicured, and my purse is inside the house.

Now it’s been half an hour. Still, the man is not in evidence. Surely, it has to be soon. Then, I can use his phone to call for my Step-mom, who has a spare key.

I sit myself down and wait. Now it’s been a total of 45 minutes.

Anger, I tell myself, is a word we use to express what it feels like to stand in the gap between expectations and reality. I look up at the stars and imagine what people’s lives were like without houses. Mosquitos start to bite me.

My intuition tells me that there’s a solution. First, I try to persuade the spirits in the house to unlock the door. Then, I try to do telekinesis on the doorknob.

White Southern Jesus appears on a very etheric sort of level, all wavy and stiff like the images one might see on the inside of their eyelids while they’re falling asleep. I yammer a little Hebrew at him to make sure he’s not kin, but he’s holding a cross, telling me that, “we don’t allow no witches ’round here.”

Fuck off, White Jesus. I have no spoons for your crap right now. Unlock my damn door with your own magic, and we’ll talk.

I sigh deeply and rest my face directly on the yellow stucco outside the house.

I feel a tiny, gentle, quiet voice inside me tell me to start walking in a certain direction. I’m out of answers, so I do.

Down the way, I see two men hanging outside, smoking by their pickup trucks.

“Say, I hate to bother you, but do you guys know Jack?”

“Jack who?”

“I don’t remember his last name. Aaron Small, do you know Aaron Small?”

“Yeah, I know Aaron.”

“I’m renting his house.”

“Ok, what did you do this time?”

“I locked myself out, and the keys are inside.”

“Yeah, I can help you out. Hang on.”

He digs around in his messenger bag.

“I’m Jack’s son,” he explains. “So, how’s the baby?”

“Not here yet.”

“Surrogate, right?”

“Yep.”

“God bless you. We’re gay, and I’m not having any of that crap.”

I almost said “yeah, me too” but bit my tongue. Explaining about polyamory and bisexuality and non-binary-ness to these two men was probably more info-dump than this interaction could hold.

He pulls a remote out of his bag, pushes a button, and I see, from five houses down, the garage door open. I thank him profusely and jog off, and re-enter my nice, warm, mosquito-free domicile.

Saved by the friendly neighborhood gay couple, because my intuition led me there.

Twenty minutes later, the errant Pokemon player shows up.

Now, it occurs to me that another person in my shoes might have responded differently than I did, and made a different meaning out of the situation.

Now, a person might have just waited outside, and fretted for an hour and a half. They might have gone around asking gods and spirits who was pissed off until someone took responsibility for the situation. They might have even resolved to make amends to whatever easily-offended deity chose to hurt them as a form of communication as a way to avert further harm.

Someone else might have interpreted it as a magical attack.

If they were a non-believer, they might have refused to take a risk on their intuition.

If they were Christian, and they talked with Jesus, and then felt that they were “told” to go somewhere and were helped by gay guys, who knows what they might have concluded. Maybe that they “needed” to be locked out so that they could locate people to proselytize at. Maybe that Christ is in all people, and that God works through gay people, too.

I know some Polytheists who would have simply decided that it was just a god fucking with them because gods like to fuck with people.

As for me, I feel inclined to find a deity of gay men to thank. And as for who to blame? I blame the guy who locked my front door without telling me and then left for an hour and a half. That guy is 100% human, and I assure you, no malice was intended.

When next you find yourself wondering about what an occurrence means, take a step back and remind yourself that meaning is in the eye of the beholder. The meaning you choose will help to shape the way you see other things, going forward, so if you can, choose a meaning that doesn’t cast a sentient being in the role of villain.

14 comments

  1. Intriguing! And good advice!

    I’ve been going back-and-forth trying to figure out the meaning of my recent debilitating injury…not looking for Deities to blame, per se, though the fact that for he day or so before the injury I kept thinking of the name “Libeithrides” which, it turns out, are Greek nymphs whose name literally means “wet-places,” and where I slipped and fell was a ditch-like area with wet grass and wet new-fallen leaves…!?! I also have had some premonitions of something like this taking place for a few months, so I don’t know if that has any influence on it either. I don’t want to just conclude “bad things sometimes happen,” or to entirely blame myself for walking possibly too fast to complete my errand and not paying enough attention to the present moment (both also true!), though both of those things are applicable to the situation. Multivalence is definitely a thing, and I’m suspicious of single answers to any matter of interpretation, though, so there’s that, too. 😉

    1. My reading of it, if I were you, would be that the nymphs of the wet places had been helpfully trying to warn me for months that I would eventually slip if I didn’t take measures to make my yard safer.

      I take responsibility for as much as possible, personally. If something is my fault, then it’s under my control.

      And I tend to discourage anything from communicating with me by harming me. It’s happened! And I discourage it by making such antics the least efficient way of getting a message through to me. For what it’s worth, it has helped.

      If you feel like there’s more behind your mishap, I wonder what the utility is in finding out what the something more is.

      1. Interesting…though it’s not my yard where it happened, it was a small median I had to cross to get to the grocery store.

  2. Haha, yep, as I read this I was thinking “why blame anyone but the dude whose fault it is, and even then it was a mistake.” Blame the physical world unless there is evidence otherwise, use your own physical and spiritual power, and thank deities or spirits when you know or suspect they’ve helped or when it would just be polite (as in your case of finding a deity of gay men).

    1. Because that’s the way the human mind works, right? It’s always looking for a takeaway, or looking to fit whatever experience it is into one’s worldview.

      If something feels random or meaningless, our brains just don’t like that. It feels worse than when the same thing happens but it makes sense.

      “Why did this happen to me?” Is part of the self-grasping my Dad was talking about. Maybe it didn’t happen *to me*. Maybe it just happened.

      1. If studying psychology has taught me anything, it’s that my brain is my enemy and my life is a lie. 😀 😀 😀

  3. Oh geez, I can’t count the number of bad things that have happened to me and made me wonder “am I being punished for (insert long long list of human failings)?”

    And tbh I wonder if thinking that way sort of strips me and my fellow humans of any power or agency…? Like, if I assume a God purposefully allowed or caused an incident to happen to me and focus on how I can make amends, I’m not taking my own possible mistakes or those of others into account, and I A) won’t learn from my mistakes or B) will end up victimized by other humans and unaware of it. If that makes any sense fmshkdf.

    Also, sometimes shit just happens. But if it’s particularly bad shit that involves malice towards me… I’ve been trying to learn not to view it as “happening for a reason” and remember that people can really be assholes without divine help.

    1. That’s a really solid point. I think it *does* strip humans of agency.

      I remember one time Hermes was talking to a mortal about their career (during a mediumship session), and she started bargaining with him saying things like, “I see no reason to worship you so long as my job situation is bad.”

      His response was, “Bee cuuuzzzz I know about job things and can teach you?”

      And it came out that she basically thought that it was the will of the gods that her career was bad.

      Hermes was like, “We’re not here to live your life for you! You need to live your own life. If I take your agency away from you, I’ve all but murdered you!”

      If you think about why our ecological situation is so bad, and about why it’s so politically complicated to fix it —

      Most people take small actions which make it profitable for large companies to screw up the environment.

      As for politics, half of people won’t vote for politicians or legislation to fix the situation because they think climate change is a sign of the apocalypse — ie God did it and human actions can’t change it!

      Again, at the risk of repeating myself… not everything that happens happens to a person. It just happens. Even if someone does it to you, that’s not because of you, but because of them.

      If we start to see malice as a spiritual failing, it’s an important shift. It changes the way we see a lot if theological questions in our community.

  4. I’m an avid Pokémon goer and I have been known to play all day. The “how long could he be out playing” made me laugh. I’m glad you weren’t stuck for too terribly long though.

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