There are days, and then there are days. Most days I go about my business until around 7:30 or 8 pm, then hop in the shower, and then tend to the shrine. Some days, though, I find every molecule in my body balking. These are the days when I have fought against every possible unpleasantness the day can throw at me; days when I feel like I am lifting 30 lb weights every time I have to move myself anywhere; days when I feel like life and reality are repeatedly kicking the wind out of me. I bargain with the gods; I plead with them, I divine.
“Can’t I please just not go to shrine tonight? Just this once? I really feel awful.”
And I do everything I can not to counter with classic begging — pretty please, with sugar on top? — and I wash up and prepare the offerings.
Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it takes all the energy I have. Sometimes it feels like I’m drawing sand from the bottom of the well and putting it in my glass to drink, that’s how spent I am.
“Look, I don’t know if tonight is such a good night for this. Can I have a night off, please?”
And I curse my lack of resilience and start trying to figure out when I’m due for my monthly respite – and I go and light my candles.
It isn’t glamorous. I don’t go into shrine and suddenly find that I am renewed and full of vigor after I do my daily prayers. On a regular day, perhaps I would– but on days when it feels like it is only the vow I took that calls me to shrine, I leave the room and collapse into my bed, sniffling and praying that tomorrow I might have a little more fire in me, a little more strength.
“I really don’t know about this, it’s been a really long day and I am really a mess. Can I–”
And I go.