Well, it might be true that paradise is what awaits us when we die. Probably not me since I don't really believe in a God. Anyways, I start to think that this thought is the root of many problems.
First of all it assumes that there is something after this life. It might be a positive and comforting thought, but it also allows us to say I will do it tomorrow, or next life.
Second it makes people think that they have to slave this life to enjoy the life in eternal paradise. Even if it would be a nice deal, I think we are better people as happy ones than as slaves.
Third it makes us think that there is something more beautiful than our loved ones, the sunsets, every conversation and every act of kindness that we see.
This list is not complete but sparks the kind of thoughts that my brain has been thinking about today. It started when a person who is roughly hit by life said that "the fucking life goes on..."
I can understand him, he was born in a warzone and has lived most of his life with weapons and death around him. He is not just palestinian, he is a palestinian refugee, living in a refugee camp all of his life. As a retaliation for his best friends death, he threw stones at israeli military which cost him four teenage years in prison. His wife is forever physically scarred by meaningsless bombing.
Amidst this heart breaking story there is anger, frustration and depression. Now I know that I'm touching sensitive ground when I argue that he could enjoy life instead. "Easy for you to say who never lived under constant fear in a refugee camp. You have never experienced the smallness of human dignity that we face every day at check points." No, I have not. But I have seen so many survive stories like this and come out so much stronger.
Izzeldin Abuelaish describes all of this very well in his book, lectures and life story. Even more of this I see every day here in Palestine. People who experienced the most brutal kinds of violence, suffered the most terrible forms of humiliation and still smile today.
This trip has tought me that the human race is very good at dealing with traumas, memories and troubles. As soon as life is good, we start processing these things. For some it never affects them, for others it takes a while to process this, but most of us somehow get through it.
So what about this heaven in the beginning? Well the same man also told me that "One day, I will be released from this life and since I have been a good person I will be allowed in to heaven." Remeber the points I pointed out at the beginning...
First he could do the things he want to do instead of say that it is better to do it tomorrow. Second he could make others happier by talking about positive things. I know that life has been though on him, but complaining about it and spreading bad mood will not make his life better or assure him a place in heaven. Third he lives in a place where people care for eachother, where the sunset is beautiful, where people make jokes better than anywhere and today his life is relatively easy. But all these things he misses when he thinks about the perfect life in heaven.
So do I critizise religion, the poor guy or whining in general? None of them. I do not want to blame any of these things, humans are are aftervall just humans. We cannot stand all the preassure that is put on our shoulders sometimes. Not me, not the poor guy nor Gandhi.
What I want to say is that we should all laugh and smile when we feel like that, we should cry and scream when we feel like that. We should put ourselfs in perspective and remember that there will always be people better and worse off than us. So never say that somebody is too rich to cry or to poor to smile. Life is what we make out of it.
Most of all this is a note to myself to go back to Sweden and enjoy life, not to go there and feel sad for how people live here. Everyday alive is paradise, in Palestine, in Sweden and maybe even in USA.