One of the hopes that my mother carries in her heart is that she wants to be a bird in her next life. I see her observing birds in the sky and on our balcony followed by sighs, because her hope is still unfulfilled.
Unlike my mother, these birds can do whatever they want, they are not bound by relationships, they don’t carry burdens and they can fly away in the sky and forget everything - so free, so light! Being the eldest daughter of her parents she had to step into her father’s shoes at an early age and help feed their family of nine. At the tender age of 16, she stitched buttons on shirts that her father acquired from a nearby factory. She dropped out of college and studied to qualify for an exam for a government job, which she cleared.
Soon after, she married my father at nineteen and started to support him in his business. She had two children, my brother, then later me and since then her failing hopes have led to an ultimate unseen hope to be a bird in her next life. So she keeps on giving her best because she believes good karma can at least get her a better birth in the next life, if not moksha.
I caught onto that hope to be born into a bird early on, so that I could be free from this world. This hope appealed to me because I faced what I believe my mother also did-- loneliness, betrayals, disappointments, fear, pressure and hopelessness. These things refused to let me go.
They made me feel heavy, dirty and like I was suffocating. At one point I felt so stretched and thin I wanted to die. I wanted to get out of the pain I felt, but there was no way. Distorted relationships, unfaithful people, warped identity and lack of purpose-- all of it melted into a murky little pot that I felt I had no other choice but to drink.
I felt hopeless looking my parents’ marriage which was marred by physical and verbal abuse. My brother got involved in resolving the fights and somewhere along the way lost his hope too. I believed that I would grow up to be just like them-- unfaithful, disrespectful and abusive to my own spouse. And worse, I felt it was obvious to classmates and outsiders that I came from a dysfunctional home. As a result, I started hanging my hope on lot of things: academics, sports, my appearance and boys. Naturally, their inconsistency failed me.
In my teens a friend invited me to church camp and there, I heard about Jesus for the first time and He captured my heart as both Saviour and Father. God’s Word revealed who I am in Christ—loved, cherished and accepted just the way I am. I could hope in Jesus and the life to come. And since that time, He’s been transforming me, building me, filling me with hope and strength.
My pot of despair and hopelessness was broken when I got to know and love Christ. My hope to become a bird was replaced by my desire to become more like Christ and live out His purposes. My identity crisis left its hold on me when I understood my identity in Christ as God’s child. The faithfulness of God blossomed in place of betrayal and made a way for God’s perfect plan for my life.
As I grew to know and love God more, as I trusted and obeyed His voice above every other voice in my life, I was free not to give into the vicious traps and I have seen God work in many areas of my life. I have prayed for my family and thankfully, my parents are still together and their relationship is improving. My prayer for a godly husband was answered last year in a greater way than I could ever imagine.
My life isn’t perfect and never will be, but I can see God is at work. As I continue to trust in Him and He proves time and time again His unfailing love and faithfulness in my life.
If you believe this life isn't all there is, where have you placed your hope?
Photo Credit: Akhil Singh