With Lent on the horizon, I couldn’t help but turn my thoughts to the lwa who had left me without much farewell last year. Oh, there was a bit of a farewell between Papa Legba and I, but the rest of the bunch just kind of disappeared without so much as a wave or by-your-leave. I was angry at the way that everything ended. I guess I’m just so used to beginning, middle, and emphatic ending that no final words of farewell kind of ground on me.
As my thoughts began turning towards Papa Legba, I did a bit of soul-searching. I was really angry when he left. I felt as if I had been, yet again, cast adrift on a sea of torment. He had caught my little dingy in his hands and taught me how to weather the constant storms within that sea. He had told me stories and jokes; he had given me a new appreciate of things that I took for granted, but above all else, he held my hand when I most needed it.
When he left, I was completely miserable. Papa Legba showed up because Sekhmet was at her wit’s end and needed me to be taught a few things about servitude and to get a few other lessons out of the way. I knew this; so why had I been so hurt when he left? I had always thought, somewhere, that with the end of the lessons, he would remain. I thought that he would just always be there. Change to me is something that I have been going through so much in the last two years that I’ve just wanted one thing that remained the same. And I found a good thing, I think, with Papa Legba.
Sometimes, I would dream of the two of us in a garden or in the forest. He was always making something grow. He’s very good at getting things to grow, as I’ve found out. What I didn’t seem to realize until only just recently that each change in the scenery, the overall goal was the same: he was creating a garden and needed to nurture it. We talked a lot about the nature of what nurturing a garden was like and how that relates back to the nurturing one must do for themselves. He told me jokes and he told me stories. He said to me last night that it’s time for me to go back to where I belong; the lesson is over. And it was a lesson and a half. He wasn’t just giving me a way out of the really oppressive atmosphere I was in, but he was also helping me to grow, my core, my soul, and everything in between. He was busy nurturing the fledgling plants and the older plants that had been accidentally pinched out when I became so angry and so embittered.
I’ve been staring at this quote since Ash Wednesday. I went looking through my old entries about Lent and found this sitting there. I found this recreated a second time when I came to the realization that the lwa had truly gone. He had bid me a brief goodbye during Lent of last year, but I had still just believed that he would continue to nurture the garden that I am. I wasn’t taking into context what he was doing or what his plans were; I was only thinking about myself.
I think, though, a certain selfishness is appropriate. I had died in every metaphorical way during our relationship’s tenure and he had always been there to help me pick up the pieces. He found me in all of my inner hiding places and pulled me into the light of the day. It was hard and painful, I think, last year because I didn’t have that person who would force me to look at what I needed to in order to figure out where the chess pieces were on the board.
I still don’t have that. I have a new little filler, to a degree, but Heru-Wer is not Papa Legba. They have a certain obsession about gardening in common and they have both used garden metaphors to get me to latch on to something. But as Heru-Wer told me when we first started being friends, he was not in my life to fill the hole that Papa Legba had created but to create a Heru-Wer sized niche instead.
The niche has been created, but I’ve discovered that the hole in the shape of Papa Legba has cleared up. As I poked around in my ib the last few days, I found that the sore spot that had his name scrawled across it didn’t hurt nearly as much. I continued the poking and prodding with other things, gauging the reactions that I discovered as I worked around what had once been as sharp of a pain as I could fathom. Now, though, it is nothing but a spot that has been scabbed over and healed up… and it seems to have healed up properly.
That’s a relief; I’m kind of tired of hurts healing wrong.
With this year, I was pretty sure that I wouldn’t need to pay any attention to Lent or to sacrifice. I had kind of figured that Lent was over with, just as much as my relationship with Papa Legba. But on Ash Wednesday, one of my coworkers asked me with devilish delight, “What have you given up for Lent this year?” I hadn’t, actually, thought about it at all because I was over the hump, wasn’t I? Did I really need to sacrifice anything?
Evidently, my mouth and my mind were on two different wavelengths because what I said immediately was, “Diet Coke.”
It just popped out there.
And now it was out there.
In the world.
Being all thought about and digested.
“Oh, no,” my coworker said to me, “this is going to be terrible.” I don’t believe I was that grouchy without diet Coke last year (although the amount of posts I made about diet Coke on Tumblr would lead me to believe that I was fairly crotchety). The rumor mill ground around the office, which isn’t much of a rumor mill because we have an instant messaging program always running between the 10 of us, and everyone knew I had given up diet Coke.
I’ve thought about the reason behind this. Why did I say this before I could explain that I wasn’t observing Lent this year? I don’t want to be trite here, but I can’t help but think that there is something purposeful here. On religious matters, I try to be very careful and concise with my speech especially when speaking on them to people who don’t know the intricate woven threads of my path. But in this case, the words were out of my mouth before I could even think to myself, the fuck is wrong with you?
A part of me believes that it’s just an automatic pilot thing. Another part of me believes that this is more than just autopilot.
Out of everything I could sacrifice, there is nothing more significant than diet Coke to me. As some people have mentioned, it’s practically my life’s blood. Fuck, I drink a hell of a lot of soda every fucking day and it’s always diet Coke. (Once in a blue moon, I will have a Sunkist.) And so my automatic pilot mouth went to the first and most painful thing I could sacrifice, something that would hit me right between the eyes about twenty fucking times a day.
Last year, I sacrificed diet Coke because it was the only thing that I could think of that would fall under the category of a true sacrifice. This year, I sacrificed diet Coke without having a reason. This should prove interesting.