Sometimes, my life has been like living in the slum. I`ve taken baths in muddy thoughts, surrounded myself with filth and made acquaintance with infectious rats gnawing at what they found.
At times I embraced this way of life, thinking I had no choice. I invited tornado’s into our rooms, destroying the little we had left. Sometimes I didn`t even try to wash myself since normal hygiene took too much energy. At other times, though, I desperately tried to protest and do something about our situation. I tried little things, like tidying inside, walking miles for clean water or rebelled against dirty toilets filled with reminders of how bad it can get. I`ve felt strong, capable and optimistic,
until I felt the draft of air when someone shut my personal door to Narnia . I must admit I even slammed it shut myself, in moment of bitter resentment.
The emotional moments when I could see freedom shining behind that threshold, I often met with my personal Slumdog God of Guilt. He was a stern-looking fellow, who liked to point out the obvious:”I did not deserve that freedom. Could I not see that?” He told me to stay in the slum and to not dream of a better life. How could I continue over the threshold when many poor would be left behind? How could I leave when others were dying, starving and dirty? Shouldn`t I stay there to protect them? I discussed this thoroughly with my friend Shame, who worshipped got Guilt as much as me.
Sometimes, coincidences happen. I was walking through my muddy environment in feverish hunger. My inner GPS broke down, and let me to unknown territory. When my head cleared enough to register my surroundings, I discovered the most beautiful lake I´ve ever seen. Sitting solemnly on a rock, was a calm and serene man. He turned his head and looked at me with the most talkative eyes I´ve ever said. He stretched out his hand while telling me his name: The God of Compassion. The meeting changed my life. He started to follow me everywhere, no matter what I thought about it. He came into my tent, sat down with me and our bugs, put clean sheets on my soiled bed, and gave me warm cups of energy. He told me that thinking about my needs, was also thinking about others. That by turning the energy-switch from 0 to 10 too fast, my ability to help went up in flames. He also said that by punishing myself, by hating and feeling bad for all I did not do, I only made it worse.
The little girl in the slum, God Guilt and my friend Worry were sceptic to the constant presence of him everywhere we went. Our whole lives we were told that Worry and Hard work was the only way to cope. They worshipped Shame and Guilt, and would probably have built a statue of pride for them if they would have time between the constant tasks of worrying about the state of our food ration, our deadly diseases or what we could do to prevent it from killing us kill us. God Guilt always reminded us of the work left, and when the little princess tried to sit down after scrubbing our plates and souls, God Guilt and Shame came with their whips.
God Compassion kept arriving at the little princess`s tent. He let his caramel-flavored words drizzle over
them and promised that nothing would happen if we started to relax more, or think about ourselves. His deep, soothing voice said we were not egoists, and slowly, we started to listen. His words were so sweet, like mint chocolate in our mouths. We could not resist.
To our surprise, this did not lead to punishment. By having less time for God Worry, who some still followed in thick and thin, I saw that the others must have misunderstood what God Worry meant. Maybe the transmission of God´s signal get`s warbled in the slum?
Years later, when I fought my way out of the slum by doing what felt right (no matter if my still present friends Shame and Guilt told me I must think more of others), I met more people who also knew about God Compassion, and were worshipping him instead of Worry, Shame and Doubt. This did not lead to destruction or bad things for others around them. It seemed that the more they followed G. Compassion`s way of life, the more they did for others AND for themselves.
Time and again I`ve tried to show others the truth of God Compassion, but some are always too busy to listen. They have to work, think about what might go wrong, even after everything is better and they have more of what they need. They insist on telling you what`s really important: “My car made this funny sound, so what if it breaks down tomorrow?“. Panic often fill their eyes, fogging out the beauty in plain view. When I was younger, I felt like that, too, but my God of Compassion let me rest. With his soft smile and words he told me: “Everything will be okay. If you just enjoy things now, I`m sure you`ll be able to do whatever you must when the time comes”
Today, I feel like the luckiest person on earth. I feel like a princess, even if I grew up in the slum. And do you know what the best thing is? I`ve met so many fellow slum dogs at my journey. They were also princesses, kings or little queens, but didn`t always realize it, either. All of them were kind, warm and wonderful if you let them show it, no matter how dirty they were before
In the Background: Life in a Delhi Slum (thirdeyemom.com)
What is Faith without Action? (now1040.com)