As religious people, and coming from a religious culture, we have come to believe that bad things are not our lot in life, and when they do come, we should pray against it. Ward it off with prayers and charms. Evil should skip us and move over to our neighbours, especially those that play loud music and keep us up at night. Because we’re good people who believe in a supernatural force that has promised us milk and honey, and wells that never run dry. This ingrained upbringing has not prepared us for the fact that, evil will in fact befall us. We will all be injured. We will all have some lasting pain. Grief, loss, hunger, it’ll happen to us at least once in our life time if we live long into puberty, or even mid life. 

We will lose our jobs, get fired, lose our source of income, lose love, use a wheelchair, go blind in one eye, or both. Have knee pain, spinal cord injury, and then there’s the modern-day plague, cancer, which has been snatching up our bodies.

This post is not meant to be depressing, but why should it give off depressing vibes in the first place? Because we are scared. Each one of these life situations mentioned above immediately takes us to a place of thinking about how hard life will be living like that. We can immediately picture the things we are deprived of, as against what we will or may still have despite those conditions.

So even before those things have happened, we worry about it. We sow seeds and give sacrifices. We attend church or mosque religiously, to show our gratefulness for the past and to plead our case towards the future. Approaching religion this way, as a way to be saved from inevitable pain, is draining. I speak from first hand experience of being the preachers kid, who still has a front row seat into peoples unhappiness and cognitive dissonance. 

Every time I went through pain as a victim, I kept believing I did not deserve it. It was not because God loved me more or less or wanted to teach me a lesson or use my life to serve a glorious calling. That’s nice to believe though. Even now, I am still telling myself it is not about what I deserved or not, but about the society we live in, the lawlessness, the trauma culture, and the lack of protection and autonomy children have. It is because women don’t have respect or the same rights as men. It is because the right bills don’t get passed. It is a societal problem that my piousness cannot get me out of.

And every time I felt like I did not deserve that pain, or stress, I held on a little bit more tightly to religion, hoping it cleanses me from sins I did not commit or bring upon myself, but hoping it was going to be the last pain I’ll have to feel. 

And for every time I got my heart broken, every time I was dragged by my hair through a crowded street begging for my life, every time a friend dies, I wondered if I’d been abandoned by the deity who was supposed to be protecting me. Who was seemingly protecting everyone else who had their lives together. 

But people don’t have their lives together. They hide behind their smiles, they hide behind expensive clothes, well manicured nails and lawns, and the mentally weak ones believe they must be doing something wrong to not have that perfect life. 

Anxiety comes in when you worry often about where on the ladder of life you fall. Rich or poor? Single or married? Happily married or barely hacking it? Living in a rented apartment or your 5th house? Loved by God or looking like his fallen soldiers?

Understanding that you’re not more worthy of that opportunity because you serve a mighty being, because everyone who came to that interview also serve a living god. But hey, being more worthy than the next person is the whole point of the love of all-powerful beings. People get off on being special. Maybe this whole post won’t get to who needs it.

But redefining success, and understanding that you have no complete control over the level of wealth you amass, is the only thing that will calm your beating heart and your saddened soul. 


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