I’ve become attached to a new show on A&E — The Cleaner. Benjamin Bratt stars as Billy “The Cleaner” Banks a former addict who, with a team of three, rescues people from their addiction. Only four episodes have aired, and there’s a gap in new shows from now until Aug 19, but the early ones have been more than a little on the great side.
For me, one of the interesting plot devices involves Banks’ relationship with God. He does a lot of talking to god — not praying, he says, because he isn’t religious. Just talking. Some of it is pretty typical: “just do this thing for me, please, and I’ll . . . .” (God must get pretty tired of being told what people want.) But Banks also just talks things through. “Are you trying to tell me . . ? Because I’m not getting the message.” As a result of expressing his confusion, it seems that he gets an extra measure of feedback, which clues him in to what the right choice would be.
For example, in “Rag Dolls” he’s asked to take on a pro bono case and given a matchbook with what looks like a telephone number on it. He’s barely making expenses and is pretty much not convinced there is even a problem for him to look into (a mother ‘senses’ that her daughter is involved with drugs, but the daughter has passed three drug tests). He ‘loses’ the matchbook, but it’s given back to him (“You dropped this Mr. Banks”) by — a nun. He thanks her, looks at the number again, then looks up and says something like “message received” and goes about handling the case.
This resonates strongly with me. A lot of what being a witch is about is perceiving the subtler messages the Deity sends. We’re sent messages everyday, throughout the day. Perceiving them *as* messages is the first step, acting on them the next. What do I mean by messages? Most people call them choices.
Every time we make a choice, we’re influencing our environment (including the people in it) and our selves. From smiling at the receptionist and saying hello in the morning (instead of walking by as if they are another piece of furniture, for example) to donating to charity. Meeting our love at the door with a kiss instead of a precis of the day. Spending a little extra time reading to our child before bed instead of catching the news. Our choices are our magic, and the Deity gives us lots and lots of opportunities to be just a little better than we were the last time — and just as many opportunities to turn away, or turn inside.
Most of our choices don’t have serious or obvious negative consequences. Few of us are in a position where taking a job could mean life or death for another person (as it would have for Banks), for example.
I would venture to say that most of the opportunities are unseen, however. It’s hard to be ‘in the world’ and remain open to all of the possibilities. Just dealing with the morning commute can be draining enough that you haven’t anything left. Negative coworkers can bring you down faster than any specifically bad news. Protecting your self against that commonplace negativity can lead to an automatic shutoff system settling into place anytime you leave your safe place. For some of us, the only safe place is the sacred space we create within our homes.
So the task is: expand our zones of safety and listen/look more carefully at our choices. Let the sacred in to the mundane and allow the transformation to begin.