Ashes to Ashes

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Yesterday evening, my family and I had our foreheads crossed with ashes at mass.

To be perfectly honest, I have no idea what Ash Wednesday means anymore. I’m a terrible Catholic – I’m not lying when I say that I observe mass out of obligation in most cases. The repetition of standing up and down and seeing the same show every Sunday since I was a kid has desensitized me of its meaning.

However, I do understand the value of faith from a personal perspective. Just to clarify, when I speak about faith, I’m referring to beliefs and non-negotiables. I’m not and in no way am I talking about religion, which is an organized institution established by human interests, just like a company. The difference is that they use religion as their product.

Anyway, despite me being a terrible Catholic, I do espouse some of its ideas. This cruel world needs kindness and compassion, and I try my darndest to put those ideas into practices. I believe in how these ideas define the kind of person one ought to be.

I raise religion and faith in this post despite how much I try to avoid this topic due to its sensitive and revealing nature because I saw a post from one of my Facebook friends about how it’s that time of the year when people putting shit on their foreheads.

I honestly don’t care about his religious affiliations in particular. I have known this person throughout the years I was able to see a person outside of his Facebook status update. He is a loving father and a very passionate lover of heavy metal music, which is something both of us share. Still, I see him share his (un)religious messages from time to time on my feed. It doesn’t change how I see him as a person – I still hold him with some degree of respect. But I refuse the ideas he shares.

As a Philosophy major, I have been exposed to different beliefs from people. Nothing about their religious beliefs, or lack of it, surprise me.

However, what terrified me is how empty and terrifying this world can be. I have imagined the world without purpose, that life is just one big joke and death is the punchline. And this is a plausible sentiment.

Since there is no way for our puny minds to truly understand the objective meaning of life and its creation due to the immensity of being, we are left scrambling for answers, holding for something to believe in. Ultimately, what we may be holding onto are straws that will easily break if the currents of nothingness tide us over.

Imagine waking up every morning, realizing that everything is futile and nothing really matters. The realization can put you in a state of ennui and the only thing that will break the spell is being buried six feet under.

However, I’ve come to realize one thing:

You make your own meaning.

The meaning lies in the kind of life you lead.

If you can be kind and emphatic to other people even against the negativity and stupidity that envelops our reality, then please do so.

If you can wake up doing something good not just for yourself, but for the people you love, then please do so.

If you can wake up realizing that everything you believe in is a sham, that we are all the same ashes and shit that we place on each other’s foreheads, then please don’t give up.

Don’t let time catch up on you even before your last breath. On the flipside of negativity are things to live for an experience in life.

And even if there is so much of nothing to live for, it’s best to enjoy every last bit of it. Because it is through nothing that something becomes.

 

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Christopher Jan Benitez

Freelance writer and content marketer by profession. CEO of GoSmrk, a boutique digital agency that focuses on helping online businesses by using the latest and best growth hacking techniques. Magical Tumbong is a place where he vents out about non-work related matters.

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