It has been a challenging week around my household. Between recovering from illness and attempting to put the household to rights after the holidays, I found myself struggling to keep up my devotional activities. Some days, all I could manage was a tired prayer of gratitude for the ending of the day. Other days, I chattered away at the gods as I did my work and generally attempted to keep a positive focus.
Keeping a positive focus is hard to do when you're sick. When you're in pain and depressed, it is hard to focus on anything other then your own misery. I sat down at the computer this evening at something of a loss for what to post. I had lit my candles. I poured out an offering of wine. I did my level best to put myself into as receptive of a state for contact with the gods as I could manage.
I can not say that there is deafening silence. I know they are there. To a limited extent, I can interact with them. But there is so much noise between us, that it is very hard for me to feel the connection with them. At one point, I would have given up on the effort. I would have declared my attempts at contact a failure because there wasn't immediate information flowing to me. I also would have been very angry with myself because I would have viewed this as a failing on my part.
Now, I recognize that it is enough that I make the attempt. Indeed, when I am not feeling well and the act of making said attempt is challenging, I suspect that is what makes it even more valuable. The Christians have a parable of a poor widow giving her last coin in offering after a wealthy man gave riches. The apostles asked Jesus if the widow's offering was of lesser value because she gave so little compared to the wealthy man. He replied that her offering was of greater value because she gave all that she could, where as the wealthy man did not do so.
Some days, all I can manage is a prayer before I go to sleep. Other days, all I can manage is to think of the gods because I haven't the strength to pray. Then there are the days where I can move easily through ritual acts of devotion and make greater presentations of my homage to them. Doing what you can with what you have is, really, what is at the heart of keeping up one's devotional activities.
If you are struggling like I have been, forgive yourself for what flaws you see in your work. The gods know far better then we realize just how much that 'flawed' work has cost you. And they treasure it for the effort that you have extended on their behalf. Don't hold yourself up to the standard of your best days for your everyday worship activities. And don't set the bar at what you can only accomplish on your worst days. Judge each day on its own merits. Let today's worship be today's worship. Don't compare it to yesterday because today was radically different from them. And don't anticipate tomorrow to be like today, because it will be just as different from today as today has been from yesterday.
Be kind to yourselves. May the gods keep you close and give you boundless love.