Friday, December 11, 2009

Inspiration from the most unlikely places

Today I memorised the plea made by the Prophet's grandson on the day he died in Karbalah. I haven't the energy to translate it in a way that would convey the beauty of it. Earlier this evening I had decided to go to bed early, tired from yet another whirlwind week of studying the law, preparing for tutorials and generally running around like a headless chicken. This routine suits me fine. Working, studying, praying, reading, eating and then collapsing exhausted every night. I don't want to feel or remember anything of this last year. I just pray asking for the injuries to heal. No sooner had I almost faded into sleep when a jolt of memory, and that strange displacement and feeling of emptiness that has stalked me this past year, woke me up with a startle. It was only when I remembered something that happened to me earlier today that I gradually felt more relaxed and calm.

Today I was talking to a new friend of mine, whom I met on this course, a lovely woman with a beautiful soul. She is also the first "real" African-American I have ever met, in the way that Spike-Lee is an African-American (does that make sense?!?). She is highly educated, proud and wilfull. To my utter shock I also discovered she was a Muslim and that was on the first day of this past Eid, when I spotted her wearing a headscarf and coming back from the Mosque. This would be the first of two things we had in common, the other being an intense admiration of Malcolm X.

Anyway, today I told her for the first time about how difficult this year had been for me, and about how challenging it has been to overcome sorrow and loss. Yet whilst I said this to her, I was surprised to see how understanding and empathetic she was to my difficulties. You see she has some form of cancer called Luppus, which I had never heard of before, and it had almost killed her. My problems seemed nothing in comparison with what she must have gone through, and is still going through... Yet here, in front of me, was a human being who was determined to live their life to the maximum, to study and work hard, and still stay smiling and optimistic. They also still had enough humanity in them to listen to my problems and take them seriously, in spite of what they themselves have suffered. It gave me hope, for the second time, exactly when I needed it. I ask that Allah has written for her to be cured.

Just when everything felt like a little bit too much, Allah sends me reminders that life is worth living, and that there are many adventures to be had in a wide world inhabited by people of many different tribes and creeds. We all have our days that are like Karbalah, where we raise our hands to the sky, overcome with grief and sorrow. But with every hardship there must come ease. Allah has promised us this. Today I was reminded of that fact again.

No comments: