these people around me, they are religious people. true believers. and they take the diction of that word — religion — to heart in all its ways. there is faith and there is ritual. daily, hourly. prayers and kindness. the truest of them have that shared personality, that flat innocence that comes from eternal protection. there is no personal fire, it is all a fire for god. he swallows everything, devours everything, saves everything.
i get jealous because their comfort is so genuine. it is not the tenuous and desperate veil that detractors so often mention. it is real. thick. untouchable.
sometimes i want to tell them i’m sorry the only spot provided for prayer is so close to the staff toilets. i want to tell them i don’t mind the 3-minute absences — i can cover any time. i want to tell them that none of the rules about breaks are important, and they shouldn’t apologise so often and say thank you with such wide eyes. i want to tell them that nothing else matters, really, if you have found something in this world you can believe in. if your belief can saturate you so thoroughly. if you have that, then fuck a job. fuck a friendship. go to your prayer.
when the people around you have that, you get out of their way. there is a feeling you get in your chest — a responsibility that grips you — to prop up what you can and make the path as easy as you can.
and in the process of propping? in the process of seeing these men and women offer themselves again and again? in the process of witnessing the symptoms of their love? well. some things really hit you hard. like, i am not a good person, or a bad person, but i am alone. i am principled and sometimes broken, just like them, but i am alone. i am chained to my beliefs, just like them, but i am alone. i have sworn myself to the religious void and so the trees tower over me, the dark is monstrous, all i can be sure of is failure and sadness and loss. all i can know is that life ends, and before that it is just you on the road. for all the isms and the theorists and the numbers, for all my fire, for all the facts, there is just this: i am alone. but those people, regardless of what can be shown or reasoned, are wrapped in soft blankets. their troubles are swallowed up. there is something out there, for them, breathing in anything frenetic, anything bitter, anything with tears. taking it from them, and offering in return this gentle breeze. these promises. this great love.
i guess i always knew this. i never saw it, though. i never saw TRUE FAITH up close until i came to this place. i never knew the real price of that void i gave my word to. and i get it now, the truth you need to see, really. it doesn’t matter if god is real. his promises are. his placebos are. and that’s all the people came for. so, this god is real. every god is real.
i’m glad for them — for all religious people. it makes more sense to me now.