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Archive for the category “Deep stuff”

Why it’s hard to be raised a Christian

In Ghana everyone is a Christian, or ‘at least’ a Muslim. When you go to the hospital and have to fill out a form to get treatment, you have to fill some basic information and things like what tribe you are from and what religion you follow. Ok, since we’re all obroni’s, the volunteers obviously don’t belong to a tribe, but then the religion question comes up. I’m a Christian, yeah, but the other volunteers aren’t. The person that fills out the form for us asked “I hope you’re a Christian?” When they get no as an answer he looks up with a worried expression. “Ok, but at least you are a Muslim?” Like being a Muslim means that you’re less than a Christian, but you still get a small reference. “At least.” Isn’t everybody equal anymore? Does equality have to change per country? The volunteer says no again, worried that she won’t get treatment because of this. The guy looks up, looks down at the form and just awkwardly crosses the whole question out.

Being here in the volunteer house, I’ve been learning a lot about tolerance. Since everybody here is different in a way, we all have different opinions, and that’s ok. For me, it doesn’t matter how someone thinks or if I think differently. I’m not going to try to force my opinion on anyone just because I think it’s right. I can tell them what I believe and why I believe it, but for me it’s not important to have someone believe in the exact same thing. I just think people should think about life every once in a while and decide for themselves what is the best way to live it.

That brings me to deciding for yourself. That is what has been bothering me lately. I was born and raised a Christian and I have always thought that was the right way to live my life. Even if the rest of the world doesn’t believe it, my mom believes it so I do too. It’s not like my mom told me that Christianity is right and everything else is wrong, it’s just the way it worked in my head while growing up. Coming here and seeing there are different ways to live your life is one of the most important lessons I could have ever learnt. It is so important to know who you are in this world and not who other people want you to be. I have always believed in God, but this year it has been really hard for me. Coming here I had to make the transition from believing because I was taught to and believing because I was thinking for myself. And the hardest part of all is to separate my own thoughts from my church’s thoughts and my family’s thoughts. I tried and I’m still trying to distance myself from everything I have learnt, and finding it all out for myself, but it’s so so hard to see if what I’m thinking is really coming from myself.

I was raised in a relatively atheist environment and seprating these things is already hard for me. Here in Ghana, it’s the complete opposite. Everybody believes in God. They pray before meals, they pray for forgiveness, they pray for blessings, they pray for healing. Most of the time they don’t do it because they believe in God, it’s just that they don’t know how not to believe in God. When I ask them why they believe, they don’t know how to answer me. Don’t get me wrong, I want them to believe in God, but just not like this. I want them to know God because of God and not because of the world. I want them to think and not just follow.

Being a Christian in Ghana is really hard for me, because I want people to know what they believe and why they believe it instead of just believing. For me, not believing in God and knowing exactly why is better than believing in God because everyone does it. Listening to the kids pray should make me feel happy, but it makes me feel uncomfortable instead, because I feel it’s not true. One of my favourite verses is 1 Thessalonians 5:21 and it goes like this: “Test all things and hold fast that which is good.” Another translation says “Examine everything carefully and hold fast to what is good.” Not everyone believes in the Bible, but you have to admit that this is a good verse. The Bible is telling us not to just accept, but to examine everything carefully and to stick to what is right. That right there is what really matters, in my opinion.

RME textbook for primary 5

RME textbook for primary 5

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This.

Silence

Silence is empty. There’s only you.

You’re sitting in a room. It’s not a big room, only about 6 metres squared. The door that led you there is closed and the only thing there besides yourself is the small uncomfortable chair you’re sitting in. The chair was places in the exact centre of the room. Every wall is evenly far away and out of reach, but after sitting for a while the walls seem to come closer to you, approaching you with every breath you take and slowly suffocating you. The hard wood of the chair is moving upwards as you start shaking and losing your balance. You walked inside with the hope of getting silence, cutting yourself of from the world and come to rest. Forget about everything that was around you. You were stuck inside the noise of the world. The wind blowing in your ears the rustling of the leaves the rush of the passing cars and the sound of talking people everywhere around you and the worst part… Your thoughts. Your never ending thoughts screaming inside your head never letting you go. Wandering off into the directions you fear the most, the things you suppressed and hid into the deepest corners of your mind. And all the time you longed for silence and peace. You walked inside, but you were wrong. Silence can be the most confronting thing a human being is able to encounter. When the sounds of the world finally leave you alone, the noise you have inside doesn’t go away with the rest. The noise inside is amplified, the thoughts are screaming to you as through a speaker. They ring inside your head never to leave you alone, never letting you go for even a second. Questions that you’ve put away, your deepest thoughts, everything in your head is desperately hitting the shell of your body trying to burst outside to engulf you inside. You feel your hands starting to sweat, a long and continuous shiver stars moving up your spine and spreading through your body. Panic starts to rush through your head like a buzzing wasp creating more noise inside your head.

A normal person would have given up at this point. But you’re not normal. You came with the intention of finding rest and you remain determined to find it. The only way some thoughts are resolved is by giving them space. Every thought, you go by them one by one. You think, you cry, you laugh, you confront. Silence isn’t meant for the weak minded as an escape from everything. It’s meant fro the strong minded who are ready to confront. Thought by thought you find what you’re looking for. Step by step you come closer to the silence you wanted and when the thoughts are given their rest you hear it. You hear nothing. You focus your ears and still nothing. You’re only left with yourself. Your screaming thoughts are gone but the normal flow is still there. Again confronting. You start hearing yourself. Your breath, your heartbeat, the blood rushing through your veins, the processes inside your body. After a while you start hearing yourself in a different way. Your own being. Questions like ‘Who am I’, ‘What am I doing here?’ The best moment to ask them is now. When you’re alone in the silence. When the rush is gone and you’re you. After a while you find the true meaning of rest. Rest isn’t silence. Silence isn’t real in this life. The only silence comes with death. But rest. Rest can be achieved alone, when you’re sitting with, next to and amongst your thoughts. When you feel at peace with them. You leave the room and enter the world of noise again, but this time, you’re not a part of the noise. You’re a new person, peace surrounds you. Sometimes you think back and remember to take a time in silence. Shut yourself off from the world to let out your thoughts. Once you’ve experienced the closest you can get to silence, you can never go back to the world of only noise.

 

This little story is inspired by something I read today about an anechoic chamber aka the most silent place on earth. I did a little research and found out that the longest a person ever stayed inside is 45 minutes. Everyone describes it as a unique experience and they talk about hearing all the sounds their body makes. I really want to try this chamber out once and see how long I can bear with it. I love music, but I also love silence. The problem is, I think a lot and I can see this situation I described happening to me. I tried to bring over the feelings I might have there over as much as possible. Would one of you try it once? How’d you react? Tell me what you think 😀

What books are

So today I came across this little piece of awesomeness! Books and writings really do bring you to another world and in someone else’s mind. By writing stuff on this blog I’m actually giving a bit of myself to the world. You could say I’m exposing my true me and everythime I think about something I write, especially the deep stuff, I keep thinking whether I want the world to know this little part of me. Will the world like the me I write about? Everytime I remind myself again that I don’t care if the world does or doesn’t like it and that I just want to keep doing what I love. So for now, I’m going to continue making magic, little as it may be for someone else, I know that for me it is magic and that what matters 😀

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