I am personally against the idea of God and the existence of a super being. Yet I am writing this article about the importance of keeping faith, be it faith in your religion and God, in life itself, or in yourself. Life can be strange, and it can make people change, and it has been the same with me. I have always been flexible and ready to change myself and my thinking about any aspect of life, and the last couple of years have certainly made an impact in the area of faith.
I was a god-fearing and ritual-following kid in my childhood. I can still recall a few instances where I followed superstitious rituals without questioning them only because my family used to follow them. But as I started to grow up, I saw my parents struggle in their finances, health, and business, day after day, year after year. I witnessed my father starting and closing down one business after another, and saw him being deceived by good friends and business partners. I saw my mother doing everything from handling multiple jobs, teaching us brothers and taking care of the entire household only to get sick with asthma, arthritis and later cancer. And all this while they had complete faith in GOD. This was enough to break my faith in the existence of God or any super being.
But I now think that I was too naive back then to understand the deeper meaning in what all was happening. All these years of struggle have made my parents what they are today. The tough times were life’s tests which made them stronger. And what I totally missed was how this childhood shaped me. It made me tougher, mature, and filled me with a desire to take on challenges in life continuously. And perhaps my childhood is the reason for my compassion and empathy towards the less privileged and weaker sections of our society.
Life is a series of steps and milestones. Important events, whether positive or negative, mark these steps and our lives take a turn in a new direction. We always welcome the positive events, like marriage, a new job, or profits in business. But more often than not, we regret the negative events like the death of a near one, some major illness or some financial loss. We hold onto them and blame ourselves, others, situations, and sometimes even God.
What we forget is that everybody goes through these tough times. When we are going through these times, it is very easy to loose perspective and see only ourselves as the victim. In such times, having faith is very important. The faith which tells us to hold on, to keep our cool and maintain our strength and to wait patiently for better times. Even these negative events always have something positive in them, which we can not see at that point in time.
My mother says that cancer was the best thing that happened to her, but she never thought about it this way when doctors broke the news to her. But her treatment brought us closer as a family and helped clear a lot of doubts and misconceptions about many different people. It also made her see her priorities clearly as death was staring her in the face. It was only from her faith in God that she could gather the courage to fight cancer and emerge victorious, and three times at that. Similarly, we might not always be able to see the good coming our way in the future during a mishap or a disaster. We just have to keep our faith alive to be ready for whatever future riches life has in store for us.
As Steve Jobs said in his famous Stanford commencement speech, it is impossible to connect the ‘dots‘ looking forward. You can only connect the dots looking backwards. And so, in times of crises, it is very important to have faith that the dots will somehow connect in the future. The faith and trust could be in your destiny, God, life, karma or whatever.
For me, life was kind of shallow all those years I had lost faith. Each setback used to seem like a big conspiracy against me. And as humans, it is very easy to get into this mindset. And we only end up destroying our chances of future successes by holding on to these so-called setbacks. In Hindi, there is a popular saying, “Jo Hota Hai Achhe Ke Liye Hi Hota Hai“.. Now I realize it is not without reason we keep on hearing it so often from our elders.