Saturday, February 19, 2011

Reconciling with God

I'm not angry at God anymore because this Indian chai was brought into my life...
...And the chai guy who made the creamy, spicy, heaven in my mouth...
...And the fact that I am an English teacher and get to travel the world meeting the neatest people ever (here it happens to be in Nepal)...

I used to be mad at God.

When I was a little younger, I wondered why God wouldn't get me the barbie doll I wanted or why this God wouldn't help me make Senior Nationals for swimming. I mulled over the fact that God decided to make me a not so tall or compellingly attractive person. I wondered why this almighty power couldn't keep my parents together, why this entity decided to make my sister's life so hard, and why this spiritual being couldn't stop children from starving in southeast Asia (I didn't know if this was true, but I always heard adults telling me to eat my food because the "starving children in Southeast Asia" didn't have it so easy).

Now, my anger at God for not paying attention to my needs has vanished. What has replaced this anger is a feeling that in this life, we must not be angry about what we don't have, but be grateful for what we do. Maybe this realization is comical or obvious for some people, but for yours truly, it is a beacon of hope that guides me through this life.

After having lived in Afghanistan for the last five months, my perspective on life has shifted dramatically. Before I arrived in the country, I was a self-centered, "me" focused person. Most of the things that I did were motivated by the idea that they could make my own life better.
I am not denying that, to a degree, everyone should do things that make them happy; that enhance their own lives. But while living in Kabul, I have realized that we cannot only be concerned with how our actions affect our own lives; we should also be aware of how our decisions affect others.

Has God been trying to tell me this all along?

Maybe God made it hard for me to get a barbie so that my mom had more money to pay our bills. It is possible that a higher power wouldn't help me make Senior Nationals for swimming because this entity was sending me a message to work harder; to appreciate my athletic success more deeply? I'm still not sure why God didn't make me taller, but I am thankful that my parents didn't stay together because if they did, I wouldn't have Cheril and her family or Jim and his family in my life now.

As for the bigger problems, like the starving children in southeast Asia, or the wars, genocides, natural disasters, or simply the fate that one is dealt...maybe these things all exist so that we will continue to improve ourselves as individuals, societies, and as a global population. If there was an absence of problems in our lives, then what would we strive for?

I once was angry with God. I mistrusted what the idea of a higher power represented; I saw the act of worshiping God as futile; as something that would lead to unfulfilled hopes. Now, I know that I was foolish to think these things.

I haven't suddenly found a certain religion, or been saved or anything like that. I have just realized that life is hard to explain, and believing that there is a higher power helping to show us that there is more to our waking moments than helping ourselves, puts things into perspective.

For example...
Each day I wonder why I am such a lucky person.
Why am I not a poor Afghan child selling chewing gum on the street?
Why am I not a Chinese factory girl, sewing the seams on to Nike shoes for less than a dollar a day?
Why have I been born into my life of constant privilege instead of being born into a yurt with no electricity or running water on a Mongolian plain somewhere?
Why has it taken me this long to ask these questions?

It may be silly to mention that this next quote comes from a book called, Eat, Pray, Love, but it does. Although this book is about one woman's pursuit to find her spiritual balance, while reading it, I realized that her life is my own turned inside out. And if her life is my life its your life too. We all can find pieces of ourselves in each other and this book helped me recognize that. This is one of the most important points that Ms. Gilbert, the author, mentions:

"God lives within you, as you."

What this means to me is that God has made you the person you are for a reason. Among other things, I am an American English teacher because I have the earthly ability to teach and learn from people. I'm God's educational tool and I respect that. And although I can't answer the very hard, sometimes disheartening and infuriating philosophical questions, at least I know this:

I used to be angry at God.
Now, I am happy that God didn't get angry at me for being angry at him, and that he let me experience the bliss that is "special street chai" in India.
Thanks God.

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At 8:54 AM , Blogger Marit said...

Beautifully written and right on - so glad you danced into my life. You're such an amazing human being!

At 9:27 AM , Blogger Piyush said...

I felt so good while reading this...
My father always says ... success doest not exist in you head it exist in you heart, because in heart god lives :)I'm so happy that God send a friend like you in my life !!

At 1:15 PM , Blogger Michael Lindsay said...

Nicely said.

Keep up the good work.

Safe travels.

At 7:39 PM , Blogger Izumi said...

Dearest Jaala, was so nice to see you in Kathmandu. Thank you for looking me up. Was nice to get your own account of path you have chosen, to Kabul. Listening to you, I thought "you too, Jaala."

We all go through life's journey all alone. Sometimes trying to find oneself. Sometimes trying to be oneself. And to our surprises, instead of oneself, sometimes you find God in you.

Stay safe. I promise I will come visit you in Kabul soon, so we can catch up more.

Please cherish the god you have in you, Jaala. You are beautiful individual, and my friend.
Much love, Izumi

At 8:39 AM , Blogger Jaala Thibault said...

Marit,Piyush, Michael, Izumi...
Thank you so much for your love and support. Having friends like you all helps me to be a better person.

At 5:46 AM , Blogger Cara Deane said...

The coffee sounds Divine. You sound saved to me. ;)


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