When my sister and I were children, our parents invested in an entire library of Childcraft encyclopedias, and one arrived every month until the set was complete at around 24 volumes. I can only recall with any clarity one of all those books, and that book was Greek Mythology. I absolutely loved those stories, and as sacreligious as it may be to some, I learned more about the perils of being human and the deep warnings of hubris there than from anything I ever read in church.
The two stories that I have carried most closely in a conscious way are Pandora's Box and Icarus. I probably conjure up those lessons on a weekly basis to manage my life. But lately I've been thinking about dear old Sisyphus.
There is a lot more to it than this (and like many ancient stories, more than one version and more than one interpretation), but in short Sisyphus was punished by the gods for having the audacity to think he could play by their rules. His punishment manifested itself as having to push a huge boulder up a hill every day, only to have it roll down to the bottom again before he reached the top and could rest and have satisfaction.
He did this for eternity.
I always thought the old guy got off pretty good when it came to divine punishments. At least he didn't get his liver pecked out by a vulture every day, only to have it grow back again like Prometheus, right? When I was kid I thought, "Well, he knows what he has to get up and do again tomorrow. He knows what's in front of him, and he's going to try again."
Most days, I still feel that way. Sure, there are some days I wake up frustrated that the same struggles I had the day/week/month/year before continue to be in front of me. Those are hard days. But most days, I wake up grateful for another chance to keep trying.
And when you keep trying in the face of overwhelming odds, you kind of stick it to the gods, and that feels pretty good sometimes. I love that about Greek mythology too, that there is a much thinner line presented between all gods and all humans than in Biblical stories. The playing field isn't even, but it's always interesting.
Today I'm feeling very "game on." Which probably means I'm not really paying attention. Oh well.