For as long as I can remember, I have been an atheist. I have no particular grouse with God. Life has been largely good and comfortable for me. It is just that the whole concept of religion as propounded by man confounds me. Not one to argue, I chose to just not believe in HIM yet steering clear of the confrontation. That makes me more of an agnostic I guess.
I have encountered people with unwavering faith in God, people who would continue to believe even when odds are stacked against them, people who would smile through the pain and say if it is God’s will there must be something good in it. I have marvelled at such people and the resilience of their characters.
Like the young Buddha when he was still Siddharth, I was cocooned by my parents too and thus didn’t know much about suffering. My compassion for others was acquired through a lot of reading and was basic, to say the least. There comes a time in every human’s life when life starts throwing curve balls and we have to use all the skills at our disposal to deal with them. Siddhartha understood hunger, old age, misery and death when he saw them first hand but then he was an enlightened and evolved soul, so was quicker to realisation than me.
I prided myself in staying strong and dry- eyed even in the face of death. I have seen a lot of people go and have maintained a resolute stance through it all. It did move me but not to the core. Cold- hearted was an adjective that my family and friends gave me.
But lately, I have developed a deeper sensitivity of suffering, pain and disease when I encountered them close at home. Watching my father battle through different stages of the chronic kidney disease has given me a new perspective on life. I have come to appreciate the little things, the brief respites, the genuine smiles, the idea of letting go, forgiveness and most of all LOVE,COMPASSION,KINDNESS and CARE– in essence God.
A few days back I came across a picture on one of the social media sites that asked a pertinent question as to what the purpose of one’s life was and that most people took living to be just breathing, eating, earning and spending until they die. To that I say, each day life and the people around us teach us something new. Our lives are God’s way to evolve our souls by grinding into them the virtues of love, tenderness, compassion, patience and stoicism.
These days, more often than not, I find myself tearing up at the suffering that other patients go through on our visits to the dialysis centre. I am filled with gratitude towards God that we have had a whole and healthy life and that dad has taken ill only at this age in his life. I see children of 6,7,10,18 years of age going through dialysis with nothing but a bleak future ahead. Organ transplant isn’t an option for them with the high costs involved.
I have learnt everyday from the smiling health care professionals who are there to see us through any complication or phase that raises its ugly head. I have seen them bear the brunt of anger, frustration and helplessness of their patients and still go about their work with nary a crease on the brow. There have been times when I have broken down under stress, uncertainty and the burden of decision- making and yet one word or conversation with the dialysis staff has been enough to calm my mind and allay my fears. I bow down to their spirit and the hope that they represent.
I still don’t go to a temple but nowadays, I pray. And I thank HIM everyday for the blessings that I have been taking for granted all my life. I thank HIM for the people he has sent to enrich my life and to help me get through it. I don’t ask for anything, not out of pride, just because I don’t see HIM as the fulfiller of wishes but as a wise guide who is teaching me every step of the way. If I walk the path laid down for me to the best of my abilities, may be, there would be contentment at the end.