Sunday, April 12, 2009

Called Out Into Praise

Sometimes I wonder how the Gods can tolerate us at all. We can be such ungrateful little snits, even the best of us. From Asgard at times it must sound like one howling cat-music cacophony of whining and moaning and kvetching, no matter how many blessings are sent our way.

The Gods must be like good parents in many ways. They know how tough it is for us. Many times a good parent must work hard to provide blessings for a child knowing that child is having such a rough time growing that they may prove a little ungrateful at times.

Did someone once define religion as "Count Your Blessings, With Gratitude"? They should have. While it's undoubtedly true that our lives are filled with difficulties, and often our ability to meet challenges is severely strained, it's also true that there come these moments of true blessing and relief, unexpected things. These things don't always lickety-split panacea our pain or automatically bring us the success we need. Sometimes they just lift our morale in unexpected ways. They help us get through the day. And sometimes they make us realize that our lives have meaning.

How often in the thick and flurry, the heck and the hassle we simply ride over these moments without truly taking a moment to pause and say "thank you". To raise the horn and give something back of something we like, sharing and saying, "That was good."

We are called out into praise.

Now don't get me wrong. Despite my slyly humorous invocation of human prayer as bitchy pandemonium catcalls, I'm not saying we don't have the right to complain. We always have the right to complain! Complaining has its own goodness, when the griping lets us let go of some of the burdens. Part of being human is the prerogative to be grumpy at times. But if we're going to offer it up to the Gods, we ought to be a little Artful in our complaints! We ought to turn those complaints into something resembling poetry! There might be a thousand ways of saying "Goddamnit", and if we heathens can't find a way to make that beautiful, how have we neglected that archetypally poetic soul we are known for, poetry that could meet the ice, and the cold waves, and the arm lost in battle. We don't just write poems about roses, worthy as such poems can be. I'm not talking about a flyting either. I'm suggesting grumbling that raises itself to praise.

Listen. I'm not calling other people out. I'm as guilty of this as any, maybe more so. I discover myself laughing at myself, locked in the difficulty of the moment, focusing on misfortune, and then suddenly wondering how it was that I could miss some of the blessings that have come to me, and shaking my head at what a nitwit I must seem to very patient, loving, and giving Gods, Gods who definitely admire strength, not whining. But they just might get a kick out of a gripe made so grand it reaches the poetic. One could give back by tickling the Gods. Again, just as a child makes parents just on the edge of losing patience laugh.


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