I have religion on the brain these days. I cannot avoid incorporating it on my blog. I’ll do some lighthearted posts too, but for now you’re going to have to put up with serious-serious things 😛
I was always a self-obssessed child. I did not see much of my surrounding, did not notice what was going on around me. And of course, I led a sheltered life, first in England and then even later on, in Pakistan. Insensitive to tragedies, the starving sick children were just pictures on the TV, in the newspapers. They were like the tragedies in my novels – nopt real, not existing.
When I was 16 or 17, I took my first ride on a public bus. Maybe it was something to do with my mindset at that point, something about how I was waking up then, looking around me with a more objective view of things. I was getting out of my own narcissism, and the shelled-away, protected, private school life I had in sfs. At pats my new friends were cynical, objective, observant and aware. I was changing under their influence and that of my own growing maturity.
Anyhow, that bus ride was one of the factors that opened my eyes, and opened it wide. And once they were opened, they would not stop seeing. I saw suffering everywhere I looked, and I was shocked at the depth of it, the insane burdens of hurt and pointless, battered griefs. I saw people, old and young, going about with all that weight on their shoulders and nothing showing but furrows deep as gashes round their eyes and mouth.
I lost faith. And yet at that point, there wasn’t much I could do except plunge into a despair. I wasn’t equipped to see these things, I had no outlet to handle them. Eventually my loss of faith lessened. I found myself creeping back in my thoughts to a God that I thought was still able to fix things. And I realized despite my inability to help these people, if I had faith there was still one way I could do it, I could get there – one glorious way – I could pray!
And so I did. I prayed for years, begging that these problems be solved, that my countrymen and women who suffered would receive salvation. It was a method peculiarly suited to my nature – I could pray and be rid of it, assuage my conscience. At least I had done something – I could leave the rest to God.
It is only recently that I have come to accept that maybe praying wasn’t enough on my part. That God, if he exists, helps those who help themselves, and that if they cannot help themselves then it becomes imperative upon those who can to help them out. I have come to realize that two hands working are better than a thousand clasped in prayer, and that though my intentions had been good, I was merely paving the way to hell. It wasn’t enough. I needed to do more – and I would.