all prayers go to heaven

prayers tied on a tree at a temple in hampi, india
each prayer is left there to be remembered by all those who see it
(photo credit: katrina nelson)

i took a trauma class this last semester in my grad program, and we spent a long time talking about a term we coined: "trauma olympics."

basically, it explains the phenomenon of some traumas or pains being greater than others. people believe that their own pain is infinitely worse than someone else's so why are they complaining? or the complete opposite response of which i am more familiar--individuals thinking that their pain is nothing compared to anothers' so they have no reason to be sad or to complain.

while i've been here in india i have been humbled by people's stories and hardships. i receive strength daily from the resilient people who surround me. some people i will never see again, however the five minutes in which they blessed and enriched my life will never be something i forget. either i can't imagine the pain they've experienced, the injustice they've encountered, or life obstacles i couldn't even begin to pretend to understand.

see, the thing that makes me the most uncomfortable, and even sad, is when i have a friend or family member who starts an email or phone conversation with: "i know it's not as bad as what you've seen in india, but..." or "i've had a hard week, but i guess i shouldn't complain because it's not as hard as the people you see in india," etc.

i guess what i've realized here in india is that the trauma olympics make less and less sense to me. i share my experiences so that people who may want to read about them will be motivated to change and maybe experience gratitude and a slew of other emotions; however, i don't want those same individuals to undermine their own suffering and pain. i want people to realize that their own trauma, tears shed, and heartache are just as real as another's.

we all have times in our life when we need a little lifting. everyone can probably think of one aspect of their life that can use some extra prayers whether it be death, trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, mending relationships, schooling, making big decisions, needing help to become more social, or whatever physical ailment may at one point or another bother us. we all have prayers that need to be sent to heaven. please recognize that even if sometimes you may feel small or insignificant, i want you all to know that they all get to the same place at the same speed. all prayers go to heaven (or whatever you believe), and everyone needs love.


prayer rags on a tree in hampi, india...
people leave them for specific purposes and prayers that need to be remembered and heard
(photo credit: katrina nelson on my team)


Viviana said...

You are so gifted in expressing your thoughts. I am blessed to have you in my life. I just admire your understanding of the spiritual things. You can assimilate them so much better than the majority of "us". I needed to read this. I need to pass this on to others so that they can realize that we all suffer the same. You were born with the gift of giving comfort to those who are going through hard times. - Love you!

Megan Hatch said...

I love this. Thanks for sharing!

thatonegirl said...

Mmmm, what a delicious set of words for my mind to devour early this Monday morning.

For you to be able to share the world through your eyes and yet still understand the plight of others... definitely a talent my dear.