I cannot tell you what you should believe in.
However, I can say with peace of mind that you owe life.
How come we get mortgage with 10 or 20 years repayment (maybe longer) and risk living in debt for all that time and do not feel indebted to the living power inside us that we live in and through which we breathe?
Perhaps you know that I live in Australia. Up to 1970s, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies and children were removed from their families and given to white families under government policy in this country. This generation is called the stolen generation. It was a painful, an atrocious period. Just think! Somebody comes and seizes your children without asking and it is impossible for you to see them again. The abuses the children sent to boarding schools or given to the white families were exposed to were another trauma. I can’t stand reading what they lived or listening to the memories of the ones who were exposed to it.
In the same way, Anatolian land is full of thousands of stories with no lesser sorrow.
In certain parts of Anatolia, the bride is made to cry on henna night (*). Although the reasons are various, in one of them it is argued that the girl leaving the family home is sad. The bride is made to cry so that she will live happily in her marriage. Henna is a vow. A vow is taken before the wedding and the bride is made to cry because it is believed to bring happiness afterwards.
We, as humanity, need a henna night. We need a henna night for all personal and world sorrow that we are not aware of, that we are aware of but we turn a blind eye to, that we pretend not to hear or we ignore, and that we normalize to avoid.
Hey good people’ what is your vow?
Always demanding from life, always taking, always wishing, if that is not enough taking out a bank loan, worse still regarding the world order we live in as normal and, instead, avoiding death, the most natural cycle of life. On top of that, ascribing the distress coming from nowhere because we turn a blind eye to these to other things.
Of course, you get distressed.
What is your vow, dearie?
Do not consider vowing as adding another item to your wish list. Vowing knows that if you are lucky, maybe, you could do a little something about the mourning of the world with your personal efforts, but, despite this, developing the capacity to live with it.
Vowing is an action depending on you.
Because the vow is you. A vow is your existence in your dedication situation. To life. A vow is knowing that you are indebted because you breathe and even merely for this reason, making room for seeing all the pains of the world and staying with them in quickly passing days no matter how much you get hurt.
The ones in grief always tell me that they are still very sorry though it is a year or it has been six months and their hearts still ache. Let it ache. This is what it does. It is like a bride wishing to cry before going away. It is waiting for you to apply henna for it. It means that the henna has not been applied completely. It hasn’t gone darker in those hands.
The vow is you. You pay for it with your existence, your heart and your time.
As long as you don’t ornament your sorrow like a bride, from the least to the biggest and to the sorrow of the world, and have it sit down before you, as long as you don’t apply henna on its hands, and as long as you don’t dedicate yourself to it, that bride and the woeful folk songs go nowhere.
“Yüksek yüksek tepelere” (Those High Hills, Turkish folk song) continues to resonate inside you.
As it happens today and as it will happen tomorrow.
They built houses on high hills without our knowledge and it is our job to cry for it and hold our sorrow, gratitude and joy together in our tears.
Henna night with ourselves is the key to sincere laughters distilled from our hearts in our future days.
(*) Kina Gecesi, Henna Night is one of the traditional Turkish wedding customs in Turkey. It's a women's party before the wedding. The brides friends and family members gather to eat, dance and sing before the bride leaves her mother's home crying. It is called “henna night” because they put henna on their hands.
"Henna Night – Kına Gecesi, a favorite of Turkish Brides". https://folkdancefootnotes.org/culture/special-occasions/henna-night-kina-gecesi-a-favorite-of-turkish-brides