I met a friend for brunch this morning at 11 in Tramore and four hours later was going to the sea to wash my hands in the water – I didn’t want to wash my feet, cos I was wearing tights and they’re a pain to put back on wet feet… The sea, or Someone connected with the sea, had different ideas. Now to be fair, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I was only soaked ankle deep. But I was still wet – my tights, my runners (which I had planned to wear to work tomorrow) my feet, were all wet and all the hot air in the world in the car on the way home wouldn’t dry them.
Image of my wet foot, in black Sketchers runners, leg covered by black skirt with with patterns of moon, sun and stars on it, tarmac covered in sand in the background.
Now, when I go to the sea, I generally wash my feet. It’s not something I ever thought was a requirement, although sometimes it is, but usually, I can figure out when it is and isn’t a requirement. But today, I was given no choice or hint at all that my feet were getting wet regardless of how I felt about the matter. It happens this way sometimes with deity and to be fair, wet feet aren’t the end of the world though. (Just don’t tell my Ma, ok? She’s spent the last week trying to cure me of a bad cough so getting wet feet, if she finds out, could lead to a wooden spoon situation…)
It’s not the end of the world. I live in the modern world, I got dry as soon as I got home, it’s unlikely I’ll have lasting effects from my unexpected washing. And, to be fair, it could be a joke on her part as well, to have my feet washed it whether I willed it or no. There might be nothing there at all other than herself having bit of a laugh with me. I’m sure she enjoyed it!
But sometimes the things we have no choice over have higher consequences. Obeying the rules of the road for example – not obeying them leads to consequences, even if it’s “just” a fine or a few points on the license. Obeying rules in work means we get to keep out jobs. Now some rules in work I take more seriously than others. Safety rules make sense to me – most of the time – so following those rules are almost second nature to me. Some rules, like clocking in and out on time, make sense from a business sense to make sure you’re giving the hours to the company you’ve agreed to (even if giving them hours doesn’t always mean giving them work, time is one thing it’s easy enough to track). Other rules, like some I have seen regarding dress codes in some places, mean I will never work for those places. High heels are not for work, in my opinion and definitely not for 40+ hours a week! And yet, there are still people who think dress codes that include heel heights are ok (yes the link is from 2017, but that was only 5yrs ago!!) So there are rules I’d view as reasons not to work somewhere, but I’m lucky to have that choice. Many people don’t.
In school, on the roads, in life, in work – there are always choices we make that then limit our further choices from that point forward. So, by working in a medtech company, I follow rules regarding designated attire in production areas and personal hygiene. When I worked in a steel company, I followed rules about wearing some (very uncomfortable at times) personal protective equipment. I choose not to go into consultancy at this time because I don’t have the patience for the image control required there. Not everyone has the choice. To me, if you have a choice between taking a job that forces you to dress a certain way or starving/ being homeless/ all the other bad things that happen when you have no money and no social welfare net… that’s really no choice at all in my opinion.
And sometimes it happens that way in spiritual life as well. We always have the choice to say no, or to not doing something a deity asks us to do. Or we may consider a request to be less important than a different request, but our deity doesn’t think the same. If we say no or choose to go a different way than our deity suggested, there may be consequences for that. We may ask for help, and our deity gives us the help we ask for but with consequences we didn’t expect. Sometimes we don’t have the choice. Sometimes we technically have a choice, but the other option is so bad that we don’t consider it a choice at all.
And sometimes our deity takes the choice out of our hands altogether! And puts it in our feet. I wish I could do a proper side eye emoji on WordPress! So, I suppose what I’m saying is, I’m using a fairly light hearted example here – no major consequences for me today, but if Brigid or indeed any deity, is asking you to do something and you really don’t want to do it – ask what the other options are and any of those are more acceptable or less abhorrent to you. Yes, it is possible to say no to deity. I’m not saying there will always be consequences, but it’s good to know what you’re getting into whether you agree or disagree with any ask or request. If something is non-negotiable… well there’s always options. They may not be options you like, but there’s always options!!