The Universe has a funny way of always knowing what I need to hear. Sometimes this can be summed up with "Ask and you shall receive." Other times, I didn't ask, the Universe just knows better than I do! Haha. In this case, it's the latter.
I was originally coming on here to blog about deity worship, which I will get to in another post, but this must come first. I got on here to write about that, but decided to catch up on the only blog I follow on here, My Hellenic Life, written by PriestChristopher, as he was known on YouTube. I'm very glad that he linked me his blog before he decided to stop using YouTube, because that way I am now able to keep in touch with his writings.
While I was catching up on his past posts, which range in subject matter from politics to statuary to visiting Circle Sanctuary, my mother and I learned that someone we know got ordained as a ULC minister, which my mother is. And this posed a strange question with us, because the person in question is a pagan, so my mother is unsure of why they want to be a minister through a Christian-based (albeit Universal) church, and they also aren't very knowledgeable about paganism, so I'm concerned about whether they're going to go around claiming to be a pagan minister.
It's really hard to say what the person actually knows, because they never talk to me about it or come over when I invite them and their now spouse (my mother just married them on Halloween, actually) over for sabbat celebrations or other pagan get-togethers because they are weird about the fact that I used to date their new spouse (YEARS ago and we've been just friends for most of our lives before and after that). So of course I cannot say for sure, and we cannot ever say for sure what ANYONE knows unless we really discuss it fully or have open dialogue in a learning environment. (I should interject quickly that it is not necessary to know what everyone knows. My new Wiccan friend and I haven't shared each and every thing we know or believe, but just through a few conversations we can tell that we both know our stuff and are both serious about our paths. Whereas in this case, it's really hard to tell if this person practices at all or just uses the title.) I make this statement merely based on things they have said, and questions their spouse has asked of me. As a friend of theirs, the things they do say and ask tell me that they are really in a beginning stage of paganism as far as knowledge or practice, and could probably benefit from anything I could help with, if only they would accept it. I think my ex really wants to learn, but the other person's uneasiness about me prevents it. My ex asked me to teach them years ago, when we were dating, but at that stage I wanted to wait until I learned more. That was maybe six years ago, and now I do feel I have a lot to offer to others as far as knowledge, experience, and community.
If you are a reader who knows me at all, even through my videos alone, you must know how this pains me. I want to share my knowledge, and while I don't force it upon anyone who doesn't want it, I feel it's needed if someone is going to go around waving a pagan flag and claiming to be part of this community, but not admitting where they are in their practice or seeking to learn at all. This is a path of doing, of constant learning, and of community when we can. I feel that it is okay not to know things. There are still things I don't know. But I know about my path, and many things about my interests, where it seems they haven't had the time to do the learning aspects. And that is FINE. The only issue I take with it is when someone claims to know and maybe doesn't. Like I said, I can't know for sure, I just base it on stuff they've said and then things my ex has asked me where I'm caught saying, "Wait, I'm sorry, you talk about this all the time, I took it for granted that you already knew, it is somewhat basic information, I can show you where to find it online..." And my ex is honest about not knowing it and thanks me for the help, but the other person is not. So this is why I'm concerned. It is everyone's right to believe, practice, and worship how they please. I just feel so odd about knowing someone who I feel is talking a big talk and, in essence, kind of putting a superficial air on a religion and spirituality that I take very seriously.
So back to the ministry thing... As I said, my mother is a ULC minister. My mom and I have also been making and selling various crafts for years, and this person has been known to come over, look at what we're doing, and then turn around and start advertising it even though they've never done it and we've been working on our skills for years. You see what I mean? It's just hard to put a finger on, because of course anyone can make and sell the same items we do! It just feels like a slap in the face to come over, look closely at things we've worked YEARS to learn how to make in our own style, and then put up an advert for the same thing even though you've never worked on it before. It feels the same with my faith. It feels rude to me to look in on it, place a label on yourself, but never put in the work I have.
Still, it is part of my path and my practice not to inhibit others or tell them what they are or are not. Lord & Lady knows I hate when people do that to me, and I'm not about to put that on others. But I think you can understand why this is so hard for me. This brings me back to PriestChristopher's blog... While my mother and I were discussing this, and why we feel strange about this person copying one more thing from my mom and possibly waving one more flag, I was still reading Christopher's posts. Then I got to his most recent one. It is about forgiveness. It is about forgiving people when they do wrong, and not holding onto hatred or any other negative emotion. That is something that I truly believe, but being human, I struggle with it.
I take coming across that blog post, at this time, under this frame of mind, as a very big reminder from the Universe, my number one teacher. A reminder to remember what I believe and not give in to my shadow on this. I have spent so many years persisting in inviting them over, in offering help, knowing that the answer will be no but not wanting to miss the time when it may be yes, not wanting to remove what could be a big help when and if they decide to take it. I have spent so many years, days, moments living my philosophy, that I cannot simply revoke it now. If anything, my forgiveness is needed now more than ever. I cannot hold onto the fact that maybe they do copy ideas and maybe they do refuse to be open with me, and maybe they do harbor ill feelings toward me, but that doesn't mean I have to. I cannot shut down or put up a wall and say, "You've refused so many times, you've missed your opportunity," because they are friends of ours, they will probably continue to be in my life, and if not, they destroy all the things we've done together as a group and shut ME out (they are also members of the Paranormal group my mother and I started, and we fear that when my mother moves across the country, they will start their own group instead of continuing to work with me, and then I'll have no one). So how could I do that? That would not fit my path, either. So I have to stay positive. I have to forgive. I have to keep reminding them that they are always welcome. Just in case the answer should be yes.
I'm tempted to write to this person and really be open about my concern and express why it bothers me. I'm not sure if I will, or if that would make things worse. I've already told my ex and they say it's not that they don't like me. So maybe I want to know what it is. I don't know. I don't know, we'll see.
But thanks, Universe. I got the message.
Just as an update, 11/11/12: It has been confirmed that they both got ordained, actually, and it's because they want to start an online pagan church that will raise money for charities, etc... In other words, precisely what the group I've been attending is embarking on, as well. I have contacted them about why they've never accepted my invitations, but instead go on to do the exact things I'm doing on their own, and they mostly deny ever declining. I also chatted with my friend about it, the leader of the group I've been attending (I guess technically she would be HP but I don't know if they really use titles since it's very ensemble), and she told me to continue as I've been doing, just leaving the door open but not stressing about their choice to exclude me. Because I am following my path as it should be followed and the Goddess is taking care of me. So, yes, just as I concluded, then... Stay positive, and if a bridge should be burned, be not the one to burn it.