First to clarify, I am not swaying to any particular religion in this post. I identify as a Jew, and I chose the term “Apostle” because I find it hard to insert a more appropriate word, lest I conjure one.

I’ve been thinking about religion quite a bit lately. It has been in my face in minute amounts for a variety of reasons. I recently was accepted by the study abroad committee that overturned their initial decision and is allowing me to study abroad this fall. In my application to the program’s housing options, it is suggested to mention faith.

A friend on Facebook continually tries to convert me to Christianity, finally I’ve asked him to stop-we’ll see how that goes.

I tried a new temple last Friday for Shabbat. I haven’t attended a Shabbat service in quite some time (a few months) and it was a refreshing service.

I am currently taking a class called Ritual Studies where many religions and spiritualities are examined.

These are some of the instances which have allowed me to think more so about religion and life. In particular, my focus has been on circumstances and unforeseen or unfortunate events. Aside from the cliche phrase, “You’re only given as much as you can handle” (which I don’t believe anyway because then non-religious suicide attempts and completions wouldn’t exist), arguably, some people are dealt a pretty interesting Deck of Life cards.

As I may have mentioned previously, I once worked with someone who knew a bit of my past and present state. Something bad had recently occurred and while talking with me she said something to the effect, “Man I wish I had some significant life event happen, I think it would give me character”. I was flabbergasted to hear this from her, and oftentimes this thought circulates in my mind.

I believe that perhaps some of us are dealt a significant amount of hardships to decrease suffering in the world. If less people suffer, even if they suffer a great deal, would that be better? Out of the thousands (or more) people I have crossed paths with, only three of these people would be categorized for lack of a better term, “Small-Scale Disciples”. Also, I do not mean to say that each of these people lives a joyous life, far from that in most cases. What I do mean by this is that the mass of hardships these people have endured is practically astronomical in terms of what others endure.

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I imagine suffering of other to be considerably decreased with these folks enduring the brunt of extreme hardships.

Person 1:

Youngest child died at 1.5 years old from drowning.

Person 1 has a child with atypical autism. The night the drowning occurred, person 1 had been dealing with said child all day (rage attacks and emotional stress), asked husband to take child out with him at night to a softball game husband was participating in. Husband refused. Person was physically and emotionally exhausted by this time, and in a moment of absentmindedness, child was left unattended in bathtub.

Person 1 has a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. This Axis 2 diagnosis is challenging enough to deal with in itself, never mind when you’re raising three kids, constantly reminded the fourth is no longer around.

Person 1 is now going through a divorce with husband. Husband has not lived with family for almost two years, mother takes care of kids on her own most of the time.

Person 1 has neglectful family that never attended to her needs.

Person 2:

Survivor of ritualistic sexual abuse/incest for four years.

At 16, witnessed best friend’s brother (2 years old) be hit by a car, while she and best friend were babysitting him. Toddler died as a result of the accident.

Former heroin addict, which was mainly attributed to severe eating disorder and keeping trim.

Severe eating disorder, in and out of hospitals, on the brink of death often.

Much more that can’t possibly be explained in a post (if I want to keep reader’s interest).

Person 3:

Me. I’ve pretty much summed up the majority of my challenges along the way.

To clarify, I’m not insinuating that any of us are martyrs; what I mean by small-scale apostles is that we take many of the burdens, burdens that generally could fill about five people’s lives and yet are compacted into our one individual life to effectively restore or maybe contain chaos to less entities.

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