Sunday, September 25, 2011

Jesus, take the wheel...

Growing up as a child and as a teenager, I always had a strong sense of my religious obligations. I was an active participant in church services, attended Catechism class with much enthusiasm, took initiative with organizing programmes for others, and in general, was considered a "good girl". While I didn't exactly turn out to be "bad" in any way, my spiritual connection with the Almighty has been on a massive decline since a few years now.

Make no mistake though. I still believe in God. Or rather in the idea of "God" - someone out there who's all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful and who we can turn to in life's joyous and sorrowful moments. What I've experienced in the last few years though is a sense of discontent, a disconnect from that omniscient force. And it's only because I started questioning what happened/happens around me; why we blindly follow certain rituals, why we are so concerned with getting others converted to our beliefs, why we go about these obligations without much thought, why is it so male-centric/dominated... and so on. Why do we have to make "faith" into this series of tasks? Why not adapt to the changing times? Such doubts and questions only fuelled my stubbornness in refusing to go to Sunday Mass or to events like the neighbourhood Rosary in May or October. There'd be months at a stretch where I wouldn't bother attending Mass, only visiting the church when I felt like it or if there was a funeral or someone's nuptials (either of which had to be of close friends or relatives for me to make the effort). My parents, after the initial nagging, finally gave up and stopped telling me to go to church. I didn't see anything wrong with my lifestyle, with my skipping of prayer-time, with my I-don't-care attitude. But tonight, something made me want to write this post.

I've been upset about something. In the larger context of the world's many problems, mine is an insignificant issue. Yet, it bothers me and so much time was spent in moping. While chatting with a friend about it, I realized how I never prayed or at least tried to pray to see if I could achieve some peace within. Not for the said problem alone, but in general.

Father RT, a priest who's also a friend, had sent me this text a few days ago: "Prayer is the place where BURDENS change SHOULDERS. Never underestimate the power of prayer today and always!" And somewhere at the back of mind, the words kept playing on and on. Add to it, I listened to Carrie Underwood's Jesus, Take The Wheel continuously on loop yesterday, and it has left me thinking hard again. I felt the character in the song was me who was...
"running low
On faith and gasoline."
And it made me want to "throw my hands up in the air" and just surrender myself to this higher power that I have no real knowledge of.
"... And for the first time in a long time
She bowed her head to pray
She said I'm sorry for the way
I've been living my life

I know I've got to change
So from now on tonight

Jesus, take the wheel
Take it from my hands
'Cause I can't do this on my own
I'm letting go
So give me one more chance
To save me from this road I'm on
Jesus, take the wheel."
As I go to bed tonight, I want to believe there is a force out there that looks after me. Or at least one that wants me to look after myself. I've been believing my doubts on many fronts, and they are just making matters worse when it comes to tackling issues everyday. Maybe by letting go in complete surrender, I can try to find that balance my life needs. But praying doesn't mean sitting idle and letting things spiral away. I've always believed in service being a form of prayer. Karma really comes back to bless or haunt you, no? Another one of Father RT's texts said: "Faith can move mountains, but don't be surprised if God hands you a shovel at times!" 

I'm off to look for *that* shovel.

PS: Do read Henna Achhpal's thoughts on her Vipassana experience here. This is one thing I want to encounter myself in my own spiritual quest. Ten days away from people, phones, email? Tough, tough, tough!

PPS: This is a personal post, and does not endorse or promote any religion whatsoever. The photo above was taken a long time ago and was posted here originally.

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