Is This The Right Way?

I’ve spent a good portion of my life under the impression everything happens for a reason.

It’s a life lesson imparted by my grandmother who loves church in the stereotypical way most older black people love church. I assumed the subtext is that God has a plan for all of us. Whatever doesn’t happen in my favor either protected me from something I wasn’t ready for or something that might’ve caused me a great deal of harm.

So, with every disappointment, setback, failure, or thing that fell just short of my expectations, I’ve kept a hopeful eye toward the future. After all, who was I to question what God was guaranteeing me?

The problem is, I’m not really big on religion. That’s probably not a surprise. “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual” is one of those cliches that seem to mark people who are on their way from Christianity to Atheism but made a pitstop at Starbucks to collect their thoughts.

I’m from a family of Seventh-day Adventists and, outside of going to church on Saturday and not being allowed to leave the house after (or before?) a certain time on the sabbath, I’m not entirely sure what it means to be a part of that denomination. Furthermore, outside of the quick Wikipedia search I did while writing this, I probably won’t bother to learn anything else about it.

I frequently refer to God, Jesus Christ, and the “Universe” as if they’re all the same. Now, I’m very much aware that Jesus Christ was God’s only begotten son who died for our sins but I also spent my childhood thinking God was the sky and Jesus was the clouds. All that to say, I’m generally apathetic about anything associated with religion.

Insofar as God and the “Universe” are concerned, I use them interchangeably. I’m just as likely to reference God having control of my life as I am to say the “Universe” didn’t want me to have something. Also worth noting, whenever I refer to the “Universe” I capitalize it the same way I capitalize “God.”

Now, with all my thoughts on religion laid bare, here’s how it relates to the idea I discussed earlier; the notion of questioning what God has planned for me and why “everything happens for a reason” is my life’s a mantra by which I lived my life.

What if what God has planned for me, is this? What if I’m supposed to suffer in the mannering I’m suffering? Yeah. We’re all God’s children but God has a long history of smiting people in order to prove a point. What if what I’m going through is a point he’s trying to prove and, more importantly, what if I just don’t get the message? Why is this happening?

There’s been numerous points throughout life where I’ve lost faith and desired to call it quits. Not in a “man, I think I want to die” sort of way but a “man, I don’t think I want to live anymore.” In the former, I’d kill myself and in the latter, I’d just succumb to the weight of the world. I have no interest in dying but I occasionally felt like living was, simply, too much work.

To be who I am, come from where I come from, make it through the things I’ve made it through, and still be somewhat sane is nothing short of a miracle. I don’t think anything I’ve gone through is the worst thing to ever happen to a person. But, for who I am and to be capable of withstanding the things I’ve withstood, I think I’ve done a pretty decent job.

Yet, and this is always the struggle, there comes a time where I don’t have any fight left. Where everything feels meaningless. When the simple act of waking up and going through the day in hopes nothing bad happens becomes a far too taxing reality.

And in those moments, I pray to God, Jesus Christ, and the “Universe,” that I’m doing this the way I’m supposed to.

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