We mourn for the good things that end. Sometimes not realizing that they’re only wonderful reminders of how every single thing or person we are blessed with in this life are only temporary gifts from Allah.
The same goes for sufferings. Sufferings are temporary gifts we are blessed with to equip us with the strength we’ll need someday for some other circumstance only He knows of. To remind us of the strength we never knew we had. To remind us that it’s also okay to ask for help and that His help is always there. To remind us of the One who is always there for us. And let’s not forget the key word. Sufferings are temporary gifts. TEMPORARY.
The root to most of our feelings are usually attachments to these worldly gifts. We get attached to the worldly things that make us happy and then we get attached to the happiness they bring. And then we break apart when Allah takes them back (and He can, at any time, for reasons He knows best for us), later getting attached to the newfound sadness. Take a step back. Everything in this life is temporary. Focus only on The One. Renew our intentions of the things we do in this life to be for His sake. And inshaaAllah, we’ll be in good hands.
[Photo captured in York, May 2017.]
Earlier this morning, I was doodling dozens of chameleons on ziplock bags in preparation of a coming toddler art session. It reminded me of a slightly-colder-than-usual morning several years ago in a car with my husband on the way to work. I was still in the corporate world at the time, but my heart was where I am right now. To cope with entering a world that didn't feel like home to my soul, I would either write poems or doodle in the mornings before arriving my workplace. That morning, I was doodling giraffes for some DIY Hari Raya packets I made. As we arrived the tall building that was our office, I had on my face what didn't quite look like a smile. "I wish I could continue drawing giraffes," I said to my husband. Each time I enter this 'zone' where I get fuelled up with a certain kind of joy from writing poetry, or simply from celebrating my imagination by creating any sort of art, I'd always have trouble leaving. And it felt the hardest to leave and to enter a world so different - the corporate world at that particular time, where we obviously didn't discuss nor draw googly-eyed giraffes. I find it quite hard to believe that today, I'm allowed to stay in this 'zone' and also call it my job. Alhamdulillah. I am so grateful to God, my husband and my family for allowing me to follow my dreams. How weird is it to dream of doodling giraffes all day when I could dream of climbing the corporate ladder? But dream anyway. Whether it's to become the next female president or to doodle chameleons on ziplock bags, dream anyway. Because your dreams make you, you. And no one else is capable of being 'you'.
I miss Ramadan. I miss how the month was peaceful and I was able to concentrate solely on trying to get closer to Allah SWT. And then I realize that I am now in the first ten days of Dzul Hijjah, and it is a beautiful time to work on getting even closer to Allah SWT. Only I haven't been working hard enough.
Back in Ramadan, I put a break to my jobs in an effort to 'concentrate'. Something like a spiritual retreat, and I fell in love with the peacefulness a bit too much. I had the opportunity to learn and read all the spiritual books I had always wanted to read, and boy, did it fill my introverted soul with joy. The 'perfect learning moment' in my head had always been one filled with silence and peace. Just me and my books. Or just me and a teacher. Just us. Silence. Focus. Concentration. Peace.
But I realize now, it doesn't necessarily have to be that way. We don't and can't always get opportunities to put everything on hold. I tried this time. Numerous times. But failed at each one, before realizing that THIS is my lesson. Maybe my lesson this time doesn't come from a book. Maybe my lesson this time doesn't come in a 'silent classroom'. But it doesn't mean that I cannot or do not learn.
I am swamped with jobs currently. And honestly, managing them in between a screaming toddler, my mind does get into a mess. Sometimes I secretly wish I didn't say yes to certain job offers or collaboration offers, sometimes I want to give up, sometimes I wish I could go back to Ramadan again where I could focus only on one thing.
But maybe staying patient in between the hectic schedules is my greatest lesson this time. And being grateful for the job offers is another. Thinking of Allah SWT and crying to Him when I can't manage things, that's definitely one.
I hardly get the time to read a book and learn in a peaceful silent environment now, but I am still learning.
Isn't it amazing how Allah provides us with countless lessons in every single circumstance? SubhanAllah. May we always see the lessons, may we always learn. Ameen.