Whose Turn is It?
It is difficult to discuss mythologies without discussing religion. After all, most of us think of spirits when we hear the word mythology. We think of little spirits like leprechauns or wood nymphs and we think of large spirits like the powerful gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus. The stories of their powers and the legends of their deeds are not only entertaining they can also offer a sense of comfort and protection.
I heard someone once who had gone through a serious hurricane that it was easy to see how ancient cultures had believed in a god of thunder, Thor as he was known in some mythologies. They described hanging onto a tree while it seems as though the water below them was at war with the wind swirling all around them. Was this what the earliest weavers of our myths felt in creating the stories that were passed down from generation to generation?
At some point in time, the world ceased to be a side effect of the actions of many deities and became the creative infant of just one. With power and wisdom, though, this one deity gave his/her creation to the people who lived in the world. Like a parent who nurtures the offspring and then lets them go live their lives, this one deity became less of an active superhero, subject to the emotions man knew and experienced, and more of a father figure. This deity became “Ab” or, quite simply, the Father.
Someone once told me that the only thing wrong with having a baby is that once you have a baby, you have a baby. What they meant was that once you have this wonderful blessing of a baby, you must take care of it. After all, a baby cannot do most of the things required to sustain life without someone else doing them for it. And not only do you have to feed, clothe, bathe, nurture, house, protect, and prevent harm from happening to the baby, you have to continue to do those things for yourself. Trying to soothe a crying infant while preparing your own meal on five hours of sleep in the past seventy-two hours can become an insurmountable obstacle because somewhere in the deep recesses of your mind you know that you also have to clean, take care of and put on clothes, take care of your own business and physical needs and, most likely, go to work and maintain friendships and other relationships. One needs several heads for the thinking, planning, sleeping, learning, discussing as well as about ten arms to do the manual tasks. Personally, I always wanted one body to work at home, one body to work, one body to do the chores, and one body to do absolutely nothing at all. I can easily see how someone could imagine a deity with multiple faces or arms or bodies.
This one deity became a father figure and was capable of doing everything a parent, father or mother, is required to do and this deity was capable of doing it for everyone. Of course, mankind has responsibilities as well. The new “Ab” was not going to do everything for the children of the world. That is actually one of the rules of parenting as the children grow: Teach the children well and then let them do it. First attempts are seldom glorious and while they usually make for great anecdotes, they do not result in great success.
The religious mythologies of belief systems with this one deity are full of stories of how mankind stumbled. They are also full of helpful commandments that came about to help mankind learn and live. They provide rules for going about our lives and, by doing so, offer encouragement that this one deity believed in mankind, believed that mankind could make the living together possible and productive.
Harmony is a word often defined as working together. Throughout the ages, religions have maintained harmony by installing order but often that order became dictatorial. The sense of freedom a parent gives a child as they mature has become lost in some belief systems, replaced by one or more earthly, human figureheads whose teachings bear little resemblance to the original mythologies.
The word harmony comes from the Greek verb “harmona” which meant to join or fit together. It became used in music to indicate the contrasting tones found within a grouping of tones called a scale. There are different types of scales but all contain one note at the lowest grouping and one note or tone at the highest pitch. They are both similar and dissimilar, much like mankind with its different ethnicities but all groupings of human beings.
Whether we want to remember or recognize, regardless of which creation mythology you believe or disbelieve, we are all part of one large family or grouping of human beings. We are, regardless of who you consider to be your “Ab” or whether or not that parent deity or deities are male or female, a family of man.
In many religious buildings across the world, yesterday, today, and tomorrow, as their worship services are about to begin, someone will stand at the door and greet people. The problem is that we usually consider that one greeting by one or sometimes two persons to take care of our responsibility for greeting each other. IN some churches, there is a portion of their worship service where they stop and greet each other. Again, though, the greeting stops there.
How do we greet each other for the rest of the twenty-three hours and fifty five minutes in the day? How do we greet strangers we encounter on our daily journeys of living? I once posed this question to a group of faithful believers and got told, “Check the schedule”. Now either the full meaning of what I was asking had not been understood or the person speaking was trying to avoid the issue and give what they felt to be a witty response.
The problem is we often think that way. “Check the schedule” is how we interact with others along our walk of life. If we are “on the schedule”, then we are smiling and shake hands. The rest of the time we live in our own bubble, singing just one pitch that is all about us and us alone. We do not live in a universe inhabited by only one – me…or you. We live on a planet of many different people, different pitches with different timbres. We need to live harmoniously, coming together to make this thing called life work for everyone.
The next time you want to complain about something, go back to your mythologies of faith and ask: “Whose turn is it?” You might just learn that the answer is you…and me…and the guy across the street, across the country, across the world, even on the International Space Station. It takes everyone in a family striving to be harmonious to make a family functional and loving. Whether you believe in a cosmic explosion of molecules (Who invented the molecules, by the way?) or in the loving sculpting of this planet by the talented hands of “Ab”, we have been gifted with a baby, a baby called Earth.
Walking among people, I often hear “It’s not my job; not my turn.” Thing is, if something needs doing, why not help get it done? No family is healthy when one person does it all. Each day new babies are born to increase our family and offer their hands to help nurture and create better living for all. They too will need nurturing until they can assume their place and contribute. Until then, look in the mirror next time you wonder…”Whose turn is it?”