Around this time last year, I was going through a very rough patch. It was the roughest patch since I was sixteen. I'm not sure if you readers noticed--I hope not, because I did not intend to have it come across. This blog is not so much about my personal life as it is about my religious life. While the two overlap, they both have their own spheres as well. At any rate, by this time last year, I was dealing with my share of unslayable Giants, and no one came to my rescue--at least that is what it felt like.

Once everything got sorted, I realized that I had somehow forgotten that the Theoi do not abandon Their followers, and that some things simply need time to come to fruitation. This time, it took nearly a year to sort things out and about a year ago today, I could finally see light at the end of the tunnel. Even when the light became visible at the end of the tunnel, I failed to understand the message I had been given: 'when the time is right, we will fix it'.

I have often heard Hellenists say that the Gods help those who help themselves. I don't agree, although I do not disagree either. The ancient example most often offered up in evidence is from Aesop, a serf and story-teller who lived in ancient Hellas between 620 and 560 BC. In his fable 'Hēraklēs and the Wagoner', this message of self-help is very literally displayed:

"A carter was driving a wagon along a country lane, when the wheels sank down deep into a rut. The rustic driver, stupefied and aghast, stood looking at the wagon, and did nothing but utter loud cries to Hercules to come and help him. Hercules, it is said, appeared and thus addressed him: "Put your shoulders to the wheels, my man. Goad on your bullocks, and never more pray to me for help, until you have done your best to help yourself, or depend upon it you will henceforth pray in vain."
Self-help is the best help."

I think there is a difference between sitting back and expecting the Gods to fix it and waiting to act until the time is right. I tried everything I could to fix the situation prematurely last year, and along the way, I got frustrated, and sad, and scared. In hindsight, if I had just accepted what I knew in my gut at the time--that the time was not right, and that I just had to wait a little longer and put faith in the Gods--that period of my life would have been so much easier for me.

You see, I knew this. When things started to go wrong, I prayed to the Theoi, to Athena and Zeus, and asked Them to help me; if I had ever offered to Them gifts They had appreciated, and if I had ever displayed my devotion to Them in a way They agreed with, I asked Them to fix what was beyond my control. I knew They accepted my plea, so I set up all the right conditions, I wrote the e-mails, I talked to everyone involved, and then I waited. And waited. And waited. And then I started to doubt, and freak out, and worry, and it all went down-hill from there. Then, it got fixed. Magically, almost overnight. An opportunity presented itself that I latched onto and the situation was fixed.

By the time that happened, I had also begun to realize I had been an idiot for doubting. And that opportunity? It opened doors I never thought would open for me, at least not for a few years. It propelled me forward in my career and life. It was more and far better than I had ever prayed for. I felt like a complete ass. Once I figured all of this out, I held a ritual of thanks giving to make up for my doubt, and to truly thank the Theoi for Their help and continued support. If I thought a Goddess as dignified as Athena would roll Her eyes, I am sure She would have done so at that moment--lovingly so, though, like a parent with a child.

The reason I bring this up, is that for the last two months, I have been in a similar holding pattern. Call me crazy, but I am quite sure this is my opportunity to show I have actually learned something from last year's debacle. And I am doing well. I know it will be fixed somehow--and I get subtile signs about it every once in a while to support me. So, I jump every opportunity presented to me in the direction I feel the Theoi want me to go, and in the mean time, I wait. Patiently, gratefully, I wait.

I think Aesop had a fair point: do nothing, and you will sink. You will lose it all. Yet, I think there is a difference between 'doing nothing' and 'placing your faith in the Gods'. I am a bit of a control freak, so I know the difference: doing nothing is a closed off choice: you are making the decission not to act. You keep control, but nothing will happen to get you out of the situation. Putting your faith in the Gods is an open choice which takes the course of events out of your hands, and leaves you vulnerable and without control. It's very, very, scary, and it is a true test of faith. Because of my own insecurities--not my lack of faith--I failed last time. It was a valuable lesson, and I get a chance for redemption now. So I give up control. I wait. And eventually, it will work out.