Over the past few years, my faith has become increasingly important to me in many ways. It provides me with thought provoking teachings, ways to grow closer to my fellow congregants, and at times of doubt, gives me a reason to believe that there is always hope, as long as we are willing to change things amidst adversity. This past Monday night was one of those nights.
I was attending my Monday night Confirmation class and our topic was prophets. What they are, what their role is in the world, etc., and what we came up with is in the world (leaving out what they are in a biblical sense), they are the people who make an effort to enact change in a group of people. Martin Luther King Jr. was one person we discussed because it is MLK weekend. Overall, this topic majorly spoke to me.
In contributing to the conversation, I added a comment and asked my rabbi about the continuous circle of reverting back to old ways. The fact that we have all these amazing people and talk whole-heartedly about change, however always lose sight of those goals, or how one would inspire change when no one was really listening to listen to you.
Naturally, my comment was not taken seriously by my peers. They laughed and corrected me when I added my input and talked in the middle of when I was attempting to get my point across. I say naturally because this is what I have come to expect in my life. Ever since the 5th grade, I have faced bullies every single year. Some were people I believed to be friends and others just people who I guess didn't seem to agree with me. I did, unfortunately, develop an anxiety and panic disorder during those years and was always viewed as a loner, sticking to my quiet time with my books during recess. Now, I have simply learned to tune it out. My mom on the other hand... needless to say she's not happy about my constant position as a punching bag.
What I told her was simple: the reason teens my age have never taken me seriously is because I think about the world in a way that is, at least I have been told, wise beyond my years. I don't get caught up in fads or the latest school drama- things people my age are often concerned with. Instead, I choose to read or look around instead of go on Snapchat, think about what I want my purpose in life to be, and how to go about it.
I want my life to be about helping others and finding ways to inspire change. The points of my life I always seem to remember is when I helped someone. I always remember those long talks by the lake or sitting with someone in the infirmary. I don't do it to keep track or remind them "Hey, I did this for you. Remember?" There are plenty of times where it doesn't always work out, and I just get lost myself, or the person returns to their normal ways, pretending like they are the big shot everyone expects them to be. And then there are times where I just have to live with being the punching bag and I ask myself, is everything I do to help is really worth it?
Then I remember why I do what I do.
Regardless, I am not a prophet. I am not MLK Jr. or Gandhi or anyone else you hear about in a civil justice lesson. The one thing that I am, though, is a young woman who wants to inspire change. I want to be able to help anyone I can because there are times when no one else will listen. There will be countless times when people will not agree and countless times where I will lose my faith that anything can really change.
Someone has to have faith, though. It starts with one to inspire the change, but it takes a village to keep it alive.