When I was six-years-old, I was gifted a pocket-sized bible and rosary beads. I can’t remember how they came into my possession. If I had to guess, I’d say I probably received them as part of enrolment at my first Catholic primary school. This bible didn’t have any real meaning to me until I grew older and started understanding what it meant to live below the poverty line.
This tiny bible became my lifeline. I clung helplessly to this book, hoping it was the answer to all of my family’s problems. At night, I would read through the bible and seek meaning from His words. I would recite the Lord’s Prayer and Hail Mary fastidiously before bed and pray for divine intervention. When my dad lost a job and became depressed, I would pray to God to find him another job to help pay our bills. When my mum would cry at night thinking that no one could hear her, I would pray to God to ease her suffering. When we moved from one rental house to another, and I had to attend yet another school, I would pray to God to give me the courage to make friends. When we became homeless, I prayed to God to hear my cries.
At sixteen-years-old, that Bible no longer evoked the same power of belief. My parents had become bankrupt. We sold everything. The only house my parents ever managed to buy, and the place I called home for three whole years, was the first to go. I moved schools again and lost all of my friends, the few I had. My mum had to beg and borrow money from people to pay for a temporary roof over our heads. I stopped searching for a sign that someone from above was watching out for me. I stopped praying for divine intervention. I stopped believing altogether.
My mum implored me to return to Church. She begged me to believe in a higher being, even if it wasn’t to be the God I knew. My mum just wanted me to believe in something, but I couldn’t. To this day, my mum still reminds me of the importance of believing in something greater than ourselves.
And to be honest, from time to time, I do still find myself looking for signs. Perhaps not in the same way that I did when I was younger, but signs nonetheless. I look for confirmation that I’m on the right path in life and making the right decisions for myself and my family. For example, I’ve been plagued with uncertainty since I made the decision to end my career as a pharmacist to pursue a career in adult education. I’ve worried about my abilities to complete the studies required and the chances of finding work as a new mature-aged graduate. I’ve been searching for some kind of sign that this was the right decision to make.
A few days ago, while having a hot chocolate with my five-year-old son at the local bakery, the couple beside us struck up a conversation. We talked about all sorts of topics, from pet ownership to school to work. Now, if you know me in real life or from what you’ve read here on this blog, you’ll know that I suck at conversations and can come across as a bit stilted and unfriendly. So, to find out that the couple were not only training managers at a teaching institute but for them to offer me a job as a teacher was unexpected, to say the least. We exchanged details, and the lady insisted I call her when I finish my studies and was ready for work.
While it might not result in anything, it was the sign I needed to ease my mind and reassure me that I am in fact on the right path. And while I am no longer a believer, it is comforting to know that perhaps there is someone out there watching over me regardless.
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