My heart has grown enormously restless, especially these last few weeks.
I don’t often find myself craving the company of another, and yet — here this strange feeling sits upon my chest.
But I think I’ve finally deciphered the emotion. I caught myself slipping into familiar memories I had no intention of ever recounting again. Forceful forgetfulness is a powerful skill, I’ve learned — but sometimes, it is not enough.
Between work, and applying for my master’s program, and my future in general… I’ve just been so stressed out.
And I know I’m not the only one who feels this, which makes it easier to cope with sometimes.. and then other times, I go through an existential crisis where I question everything I’m doing to get to where I want to be. But then I spiral into my distress because where I’m at now is not what is making me happy.
Not the kind of happiness I’ve experienced before. And I’m just so ready for that city feeling again.
But then I have these moments, these small insignificant moments that become so significant to the forefront of my mind.
I gathered with some girl friends the other night. We were celebrating a birthday – birthdays are one of my favourite things. I don’t know why, I just love them. They’re important to me because it’s the one day where that person becomes a lot more extra special than normal and I get to participate in their victory of another beautiful year to come — and if I’m lucky, I get to be part of it, too.
I like the drinking, and the dancing, and the laughing, and the eating together, and the time spent creating outrageous memories.
But this is not what I will remember.
Before we went out, we met up at the birthday girl’s house. Her and another one of our friends have children, and so they were dropping them off.
Before we left, I don’t know what prompted it, honestly – but, somehow praying together came up.
And I remember Vanessa, bday girl, kinda looked at me sympathetically and forced out an unwarranted friendly awkwardness, “I don’t want to make you feel uncomfortable Trinh.. I know you don’t believe in this.”
I half-smiled, it’s just kinda of my automatic response to being misunderstood – which, not purposefully, I often am, especially when it comes to religion.
Sometimes it’s just easier saying I’m a non-believer than having to explain what exactly I do and don’t believe in.
I’m not your conventional Christian. In general, I’m not a typical god-fearing woman at all. I don’t believe in the God written by the hands of fallible men. I don’t believe that there’s only one absolute path of truth to salvation. Organized religion has just never sat well with me, I can’t reason it, and I can’t feel it. So neither my heart not my mind can follow it.
Religion is learned, faith is experienced.
I believe that, with all my heart. What I do believe in is a radical universe, aka God, that is not condensed into the image of men. I don’t try to picture what God is because the truth is – is that I really don’t know. My own beliefs are not solid proof, I don’t claim them to be because then that would still only limit a limitless energy that I have my faith in.
To put it simply, what I can say is that I believe in love and I believe in being kind. Once I let go of the concept of organized religion, I was able to embrace a better Trinh. I became more kind and more loving, not only to those around me but to myself as well.. and ultimately, that is what all the major religions teach to their respective audiences: love your neighbor as thy self.
And that’s what I continually want to experience with any interaction I have with someone: love. I think that wherever love is, so is God. They are truly one in the same.
Head cocked to the side, I grabbed Vanessa’s hand and instructed the other girls to all take hands as well, “Maybe we don’t believe in the same things, but we can still pray together.”
The girls all kinda scrambled and nervous smiled on who would lead the prayer, so naturally, extroverted Trinh just went for it.
I don’t exactly remember verbatim, what I do remember is after finishing the prayer – the looks on everyone faces… shock, haha. What a turn of events, the person who is never outspoken about her beliefs leading prayer amongst a group of different denominated Christians.
“That was… really good Trinh. Thank you so much for that… please, if you would, continue to pray for me and my family, and for all of us really.”
This touched me immensely. I know that I am very fortunate to constantly be surrounded by such a wonderful support group… you see, that’s kinda the beauty of it, love — to believe in different ideologies, and still to love each other relentlessly and unfalteringly. That is God, and that is what I believe in.
This vast and immeasurable energy called love that connects people – it made me happy, I hadn’t openly prayed with people and meant it, in such a long time. It reminded me that even if I do have separate beliefs, it shouldn’t alienate me from different opinions, but instead let it foster curiosity and acceptance.
The rest of the night was filled with lots of drinks, laughs, dancing, and unforgettable memories. And I’m just so happy I could experience this again – this feeling, like home. I miss being abroad so much – it is my constant emotion, it’s what I feel the most now and days.
But these small moments, that relieve me of worry or care, when I’m just truly in the moment with people I love – they make coming home so worth it. I guess I just needed the reminder.
I hate how time is measured, but ironically, when it comes to all my loved ones, friend or family, it’s the most important thing to me.