I come from a devout Protestant family, at least my grandmother was. I grew up with memories of waking up at 4AM every day for prayers that seem to stretch on for hours. In reality though, they were just roughly 30 minutes of prayers that usually end with singing my grandparents’ chosen hymn of the day. There were days I resented those morning rituals. I knew some of my aunts and my uncle did as well. But none of us dared to miss it. Our only consolation was we’re allowed to go back to sleep as soon as it’s done.
Looking back though, it was one of the most memorable and life-altering part of my childhood. Early morning prayers with the family was one of the things that bonded us. And while I’m not as religious as my grandmother was, it helped anchored me in my faith. When I finally had to move out of the family’s protective fold and live independently during my college days, it was that faith that made me stronger than I ever thought I could be.
It’s Good Friday today and I remember how we used to observe the Holy Week at my grandmother’s place. My grandma didn’t ask for much from us, only that we take the time to be silent and reflect on the meaning of this religious observance. When I think about the Holy Week, I think about suffering in all its forms. And how those who suffer will always find salvation in one form or another. And that no matter how bleak things seem to get from time to time, happier days come. There are no easy way outs. One must struggle through the worst parts. Accept the challenges for what they are. Find lessons worth learning and let the rest slide. And more importantly, one must keep moving forward with or without the fear that will almost always hover around.