I’ve gone to church for all of my life. Mass after mass every Sunday, learning about what to do, how to do it, and what is the righteous path. Growing up in the church makes people a bit apathetic, less responsive, and less zealous. I can remember sitting in the pews when I was younger, dosing off as the something akin to muscle memory took me through the motions. Responses and prayers at that point just become words and empty ritual that your hearts not into (not the best way to practice religion).
It was in these brief periods of dozing that I realized there were a group of people who had all the love and faith to put into the mass, who hung on every word. They would sit in anticipation for the next lesson, and always have a distinct reverence for God, and be the loudest voices when it came to singing and praying. These people I would find out later usually converted to the religion. People who ultimately chose to be there, not because of some familial obligation or routine, but because they found exactly what they were looking for. As I got older, I had always had a great deal of respect for them, because it’s their zeal that I aspire to.
It was around age 7 when if you wanted to find me I would be in one of two places, staring at a screen in the living room, or watching a screen in my bedroom. It’s not that I was particularly antisocial, but I had always felt more comfortable with a monitor in front of me. If I wasn’t at school or with friends that was what I was doing. Video games and cartoons were my life, a consistency that I sought, and for some time, the only consistency I had. I wasn’t much for humanity, people were fun to be around, but I always guarded myself against them. For a while there I didn’t understand the appeal of people, though at times I enjoy being around them, I always defaulted back to that life in front of the screen. People and I seemed to be on a very different wavelength so when was playing video games it was my home, it was my haven, where I would go to escape into the world I felt like I might actually belong to.
As I grew older, the feeling of something missing within me began to grow. Though video games and anime were fun, they ultimately could only provide a mostly superficial experience. No matter how far I delved to fill this part of myself, I was never really satisfied completely. I doubled down, how can something that had sustained me for this long suddenly be lacking. Hundreds of episodes, countless games, and hours staring at the backlit screen of a laptop, I needed something to change, but for a while nothing did.
It was much later when I started to see the value in those types of relationships we foster. It took a while for that desire to spread root within me. It was then that my love of humanity began to grow because it was something I realized I wanted to be a part of, something I knew would make me feel more complete and alive. I wanted to know as much as I could about this group that I seemed strangely distant from. I wanted to be apart humanity because I finally accepted I was human.
When I think about why I believe in humanity so much, in the goodness of man, the greatness of our capability. I realize, I chose to be part of this miraculous people and have fallen in love with our antics. It’s a zeal I find reminiscent to those converts to religion. I sing out praised of humanity and acknowledge their shortfalls. I find that I love people because doing so makes me feel whole. It birthed a passion that I can’t live without.
At the end of it, I believe in how great people can be. I have always been a lover of history, and it has always been enough evidence to show me how much we can accomplish if we really push ourselves. Within the last century athletes, academics and activists have pushed the boundary and advanced our society beyond people hundreds of years ago would be able to fathom. Though there are times in which we follow a misguided or evil path, we always show a high capability to learn and grow. Our greatest strength is to adapt and teach others a better way and strive for a better future. I am a convert to humanity, a believer in our purpose, I will sing our songs to the heavens and hang on every lesson.