A friend of mine recently was feeling rather down and full of despair, and posted about it on FaceBook. One of his friends posted this in response:
“Just sit back and let HIM work HIS magic.”.
The HIM and HIS being a god, of course.
Why do people think that praying, and then sitting back and waiting for a god to fix things is reality? Or is a good idea? Since when is sitting back and doing nothing a good idea?
If I have a headache, I’m not going to pray to a god to take it away. I’m going to go take an ibuprofen. If I am feeling my life is full of despair and hopeless, I’m going to get off my ass and do something – I’m going to write, paint, draw, clean, cook, read, learn something. I cannot sit around feeling sorry for myself, because that does absolutely no good.
If I waited around for a god to do things for me, or for that matter, anyone else to do things for me, I’d be waiting a really long time.
First off, if I do that, who the hell is going to take care of me? Nobody.
Who is going to make dinner? Nobody.
Who is going to clean up the mess from dinner? Nobody.
Who is going to do my laundry? Nobody.
Who is going to pay my bills if I do not? Nobody.
It’s me, and me alone, and fuck that despair shit. Who has time for it? I live alone, except for weekends I have my son. I have no other family anymore, to speak of. I have good friends, who I love, and am very grateful to them, but they have their own issues, lives and worries. My boyfriend lives in another country, on another continent and it isn’t like he can do anything for me. So, I’ve learned over the last 6 years or so to trust no one, to expect little from anyone, and that I have no choice but to make it on my own. The only person I know that “has my back”, is me. And if that sounds jaded, well, maybe I am. And if it sounds angry, I am really not. I just see life as reality, instead of through the eyes of the overly optimistic, or through those damned rose-colored glasses people seem to wear all the time. But it’s also honesty and truth. That isn’t to say that my friends have not helped me, because they really, really have. I don’t know how I’d get along without them.
People have got to understand that their happiness is not achieved by prayer. It is achieved by action. As our esteemed Yoda says, “Do, or Do not.” But if you “do not”, then you “do not” get to fucking complain.
My own response was this:
No, don’t sit back and wait for it. The real magic really only happens when you make of life what you want it to be.
“to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.”
— Ellen Bass