Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Falling from grace and yearning for Eden

Feeling more exhausted than usual today. I think these past two winters have been the coldest, darkest and harshest that I've experienced in my life. The fatigue that is enveloping London with every thick snowfall is a mirror to the immense weight that I feel I have been dragging around with me wherever I go. This fatigue can't just be from the intense study load we have on this law course, it is a genuine exhaustion. My first reaction is to book a flight somewhere exotic and far away, to walk away from things for a while, but running away temporarily from reality is probably worse than facing its misfortunes and harshness. I'm trying so hard to be a good man but seems like even that is too much to hope for these days...

Still, I have much to be grateful for, something I am constantly reminded of by the amazing people I have the good fortune of meeting everyday. There are some burdens that can only be carried by ourselves, alone, but it helps to know that we are not the only ones facing an uphill struggle every day. When I read about people in Gaza and what they must be going through my life gets put in perspective. My faith keeps me going, offering me sustenance now more than ever. In fact since February 2009 an intense searching took place within me, something which alienated those who cared about me as my exterior cooled into numbness. What is this "I" that longs and experiences and wishes for so much? The more we delve into trying to understand it, and its relationship with the world, the more it seems like the "I", us, is a prisoner of something. Constantly it is assualted from every angle, enticed, bullied, threatened and seduced. This makes it act in ways that might seem ludicrous. For example, the Prophet was once asked what advice he can give a Muslim. He said, "Don't get angry". He said that three times. Today, I can honestly say that a big part of the burden I carry was because I was angry. Actually it was more like a slow burning rage. But once that consumes everything around you, what is left for you? The answer is nothing. All that remains is one big mess, a jumble of regret and something broken that might never be fixed.

I prayed today and reviewed this past year. It hit me then as I wondered about anger how easily I was misled. I thought I was strong, that I was right, but it took one small decision to transform everything. The fall from heaven to earth, banishment from the garden of Eden. Hardship. It is like an evil one has enticed me, lured me with false promise and then laughed as I became trapped in my own folly. Perhaps this is what we as human beings need in order to learn, to know what it feels like to need Allah. To realise that we cannot make it on our own. I cried silently as I finished my dua, asking that I find my way. A wave of calm slowly spread through my body, starting from my chest, always the chest, and I decided to go to bed early rather than try to study whilst feeling this tired.

Somebody asked me today if I had any New Year's resolutions. I think if there is one it will be to not get angry, and to forgive more, for we are all so deeply flawed.

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