My once-familiar haunts are strange to me now; I have been away too long. They repainted the walls and changed the furniture, and everything is brighter and different than I remember. I linger outside in the shadows, awkward and uncertain, listening to the roar of happy conversation that spills out the door like yellow light spills out the window. It is too much to enter, so I turn around again.
My work is full of baby steps now, an inchworm’s efforts. I am still Kemetic, devoted to my gods, but my practice has shrunk down to a tether of daily morning prayers, which I say faithfully. I cleaned my shrine of dust, but have not sat before it yet. I light incense. I bring a flower that my partner gave me for offerings. I do not yet kneel and still my mind to listen. Receptivity is so hard for me right now.
But I reach out in small ways. If I cannot stand the boldness of the main hall, I can at least say hello to individuals as they enter or leave, so I am not alone. I can sit at my own table and welcome a few others to join me, in my own space, which is quieter and gentler, until I can manage to go back to the light and the bustle.
I offer my dinner, my tea. My breath and my love. It is not as much as I want to do, but it will suffice. My gods and my community are not disappointed in me; the only disappointment is my own, and that is an emotion I can work through.