[This is part of a series of loose meditations on ma’at, purity, and the role of both in my life. All anecdotes are personal and the reflections may not be relevant for all. However, I hope there’s something to be gained from reading — as I have enjoyed sharing.]
There’s an old cliché that says “the only constant is change”. There’s also a cliché that says “all clichés exist for good reason” — and I’d argue that at least in this case, that’s true. I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that the greatest thing my life has in common with two or three years ago is change. Where I was a year ago is much different from where I am today. All of my relationships have grown and shifted. I am married now. I live with my husband and two cats. A year ago today, I lived with my then-fiancé alone. A year ago from that, I lived in a hotel room with my parents, youngest sister, and a miniature schnauzer, while we waited for our storm-ravaged home to be repaired. A year before that, I lived at home with my recently injured father, my mother, and my youngest sister. And only one year before that, I lived in a college dormitory with three other lovely people.
When I put it that way, it seems like such a short time for so many drastic changes. The list of things that are different now than they were five years ago goes on and on. It sounds like chaos. And yet, through all the changes I have become a better person; I have grown and learned and now find myself in a more stable, better place.
Ma’at is a balancing act. To “act in ma’at”, we have to find the right mix of being careful and bold, demure and outspoken, forceful and mild. It does not do to bow and scrape all our days, but we also can’t act superior all the time, either. Wisdom literature is filled with exhortations to be neither too meek nor too strong. We should neither be too stagnant, nor too shifting. I imagine this has to do with our need for growth. If all things stay the same, we can never grow. We grow by changing. We grow by observing in ourselves a need to become something else, to take the way we act or think and alter it — and then by reconfiguring our lives or actions to meet that need. It is growth that brings us to better understand ourselves, our world, and how to better serve Netjer and Ma’at.
I’ve been thinking about the role of change in purity and ma’at this week. The “Red Week” festival for Set ended yesterday evening. It was a beautiful celebration of the Lord of Storms. My relationship with Him has been fraught for some time; I have been reluctant to re-examine it for fear that I might be inviting unwelcome chaos into my life. Having this week to spend meditating on His role — one far more complex than transforming my own personal life, to be sure — has helped me see that it is better to invite change than to live undisturbed and never improve myself. I would not want things to be the same as they were a year ago, or even five years ago, back in college again. Maybe it’s the newlywed in me talking, but I am so very grateful that my life has changed. What’s more, I feel excited for and not scared of what changes might happen in the future. Dua Set! May I endure the changes of the future with the strength You have shown me that I possess — and may those changes be as smooth and as pleasant as they can be… if possible. 😉
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