This is the second day of the second week of Winter quarter at the college where I teach. Though I’m teaching the same number of classes here this quarter as I did last quarter, both of them are in-person this time (as opposed to one online and one in-seat), and they’re on the two different day-cycles of the week: so, one class on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons, and one class on Tuesday and Friday mornings. (I do actually prefer to teach in-person as opposed to online, so I’m not complaining on that score.) No matter what, I have to be here pretty much all day, though, with the availability of rides and bus schedules, etc. And, as of later today, I’ll also be starting the (shorter) term at another college where I teach about one class annually, which will last for eight weeks. That class meets once a week, but it’s for five hours, from 5 to 10 PM. That means that on a day like today, I’ll be at work for over fourteen hours (but only half of which is actually teaching, and is the only part of it that I’m paid for), and then add about two hours of commuting to that as well…
I wish that teachers were paid as well as babysitters. (You know that figure they give there about teachers making an average of $50,000 a year? Yeah, well cut that to 25% of that, and take away a alsight bit more, and that’s what I make annually, if it’s a good year. Yes, us over-privileged, rich, whiny teachers, huh?)
I have found that in the last week, and this week, I’ve ended up praying even more than I usually do. When I arrive in to my office first thing in the morning, and when I leave at the end of the day, I pray at my makeshift office shrine, which mainly represents Antinous (but also Hanuman and the Tetrad++). My everyday practice at my home shrine doesn’t include a lot of vocal prayer, but these practices I’m doing in my office this quarter have a lot more of that than I expected.
Yesterday, I got some rather upsetting news, that a job I had applied for, and that looked likely and which auspices and divination and so forth indicated looked like a strong possibility, and which would have literally fixed almost all of my current problems (which stem from not-enough-money for the amount of work that I do, and its consequent problems with medical bills not covered by the meager insurance I have, etc.), did not come through, and I didn’t even get an interview. This is about the thousandth time that has happened (probably not the thousandth, but likely close to the hundredth at this stage), and while I’m very upset and devastated about this to an extent, at the same time, I’ve experienced this kind of disappointment so frequently that I’ve almost come to expect it rather than not…that doesn’t keep me from applying for new opportunities when they come along, but at the same time…
And what can I do in a situation like this? What else other than pray more, even if my prayers are telling the gods how upset I am at these things, and how I think I deserve better and have earned better at this point (not because of my devotions to the gods, but because of what I’ve accomplished in my “career,” such as it is); even though I know that our gods are not all-powerful and cannot always do much to influence events in the world, and thus it isn’t their “fault” that this situation didn’t work out as it could have, nonetheless just as I might express my discontent over this situation to my friends, I will likewise express that discontent to the gods because even if they are not my “friends” in the same way that those I can call up or visit or have coffee with some of my human friends, nonetheless they know me and I’ve come to know them in ways that have that kind of familiarity as characteristic of our relationship. My own successes will be to their benefit, most certainly, and they definitely know this, so if they have a stake in the situation in that fashion, I would have to guess that there is some “gain” to them to have these things not be working out at present…and that’s where what my Thracian colleague calls “faith” comes in (and also, in a slightly different way, here), I think.
I’m not sharing my struggles with these issues here in this quasi-public forum to get sympathy for my difficulties (though that is appreciated); and I’m certainly not sharing them here to get advice from anyone on my life, my religious practice, or how you think you might have come up with something I’ve not thought about in terms of dealing with my practical economical situation–I am relatively intelligent, I’ve very likely thought about everything you can suggest, and have tried most of those things, and they haven’t worked and/or don’t apply to my situation. (I’ve been listening to unsolicited “career advice” from people for the last eight years…believe me, none of it is relevant or has been useful.) So, if your potential comment on this post is anything of that sort, do us both a favor and don’t post it.
Divination (by someone other than me–I’m too close to the situation to do this usefully) will be happening later this week to find out what the fuck is going on; but meanwhile, I have a lot of work to do, both practically and devotionally, and I hope to get some of it done soon.
But, what I would definitely like to hear about, if you have experiences or thoughts in this regard, is what you do or have done when you’ve run into situations of this sort personally. What if divination and oracles and the like from the gods on everyday-world matters say one thing, but then it turns out drastically (and sometimes disastrously) different–what do you do? How have you reacted? What in your spiritual practice gets you through it? And, have you found that doing what you’ve suggested does actually help?
Misery loves company, huh? So, let us share our miseries, with the gods and with each other.