When I was small, I pondered upon the idea of gods. Beings said to be immortal, but I have never laid my eyes upon one. I wondered, “How can something so powerful be so absent?” At the same time, I thought, “If I were immortal, I’d do great things. I’d traverse the world, create journals of my discovery. I’d devote my eternal life to a great cause, curing illnesses and bringing prosperity to the world. I’d have shrines and altars built in my name. The whole world would know who I am.”
When I was small, I heard stories of the origin of gods. It was said that some gods were ordinary humans once. Human, just like me. Through mystic rituals, even an ordinary human may achieve godhood. This sparked a question within my teen self,
“Would it be possible for me to etch myself as an immortal being?”
As I grew older, the idea of gods and immortal beings faded from my mind, replaced with worldly concepts like salaries and work. There was no more time for fictitious stories. My childhood had simply ended, just like that. It’s funny, really. When I was a kid, I would’ve never imagined growing up to be this dull of a person. I’ve always thought I’d be something more, an astronaut, a historian, or even a god. In reality, I’m barely living my life as it is. My hours are filled with making rich people richer. I don’t feel any sense of fulfillment in this life.
It is said that humans are inherently stubborn creatures, refusing to give up on their dreams until they meet their demise. I’m afraid I am not exempt from that nature. I do not want to waste my remaining years for something that does not matter to me.
I was walking around one day when I saw a child, not much older than 10 years old praying at an altar. Intrigued, I approached him once he was done, asking what he prayed for. “For prosperity and protection. My parents taught me how to pray when they were still alive. It’s one way I honor their memory.”
It was a rare sight indeed. To see people worshiping gods in this day and age. As humanity advanced, the concept of gods and mystical creatures all but faded. Most people now worship what makes them successful in this age: money and fame. It was then I realized what it actually meant to be immortal; to leave a mark on the world, regardless how small that mark is. Just like how the boy’s parents left a mark on his life.
That’s when I decided to answer the question within my teen self. I’ll become immortal. I’ll leave my mark here on this world.
When I was small, I used to worship a god. I’d pray to them, give offerings, and follow their teachings. One such teaching stuck in my mind, to be kind. That’s it. Be kind. To that, I’ll add a few more teachings of my own:
Open your heart to the suffering of others, and others shall open their hearts to yours. Offer a friend in need a shoulder to cry on. Comfort your partner during their time in need. One day, when you need it the most, help will come to you.
Kindness is infectious. A kind gesture can inspire a thousand more in return. Take time to grieve a loss. Life won’t be filled with good moments, there will be shitty ones, like losing a loved one. Should that time ever come, take your time to grieve them, remember your time spent with them and cherish those memories.
A good meal and companionship goes a long way. A universal treatment to most problems, a hot meal and good company. It doesn’t have to be another person. It can simply be yourself.
That’s all the wisdom I have to impart on this world. When you read this, I may no longer be in this world. I do, however, have a favor to ask you, the one reading this letter. Spread my tale and wisdom, for if I am remembered, even by only you, I’ll live on forever. That will be my mark on this world.
Written by Amir Ahmad Razif