I spent what felt like most of my childhood praying that it would rain. Rain was one of those simple things that we took for granted in Northern Ireland and then in France, but when we moved to Burkina Faso, it’s absence was so evident and potent. The air was dry and the ground cracking. People were shrivelled up in the shade, hands clasped together, praying under the mango trees. A stray cloud gave hope, such an embarrassing amount of hope for life, the life that rain brings. They spent ridiculous amounts of money bombing the clouds with water bombs, would you believe, hoping that it would encourage rain to flee out of them, but no, it didn’t. I never really understood who thought that bombing the clouds would make it rain, instead they scared the shit out of the clouds so much they rain off and pissed themselves elsewhere, somewhere ungodly, unworthy.
When I left Burkina Faso I still felt like I was praying for rain, I was praying for so many “things” in my life that were not in my control, things that were not actually in anyone’s control, they were governed by climate, chance and circumstance. What is frustrating now that I look back, is that at times I was praying for things that I could influence with action and not words, like my health, my family and ultimately my own life.
Yes, I could have taken action, but I didn’t do anything because I had been told from a very early age that I didn’t have control over my life, that I was incapable of making any decisions about my life on my own. Instead, I had to pray fervently to God asking him for advice about anything and everything. The problem with that is, God doesn’t tend to speak, instead he sends ridiculous signs that you could miss in a blink of the eye, he makes the messages mysterious and elusive. Sometimes he doesn’t even send a message telling you what to do, so you end up reading into everything that happens around you and guessing that there is meaning in it.
But, I wish that I had taken action instead of praying, it is frustrating to look back and see what I could have changed by actually doing something. Wishes are no good now, they are never any good, they are just like prayers that I wasted on the weather.
I did end up taking action, I gave up on God, I stopped believing and I dragged myself away from religion, millimetre by millimetre. I will be sharing these stories with you, hoping that you don’t make the same mistakes that I did and if you can relate to my experience, I hope you feel less alone.