A friend of mine wrote another outstanding blog post this morning. I love most everything he writes, and today’s was definitely one of my favorites (you can link to it here: http://islamicsunrays.com/when-the-unstoppable-force-meets-the-immovable-object/ )
In it he basically talks about not taking “no” for an answer. Without rewriting what he’s already put into words, I just want to say that I can totally support his views. I know from experience what it is to be the immovable object or unstoppable force. I know what it is to feel like my sheer will has contributed toward the desired outcome; what it feels like to believe that my tenacious stubborness brought the victory sought. It is, after all, the same energy that I harnessed to grit through the first few and troublesome years of my now-fantastic marriage. It was the source I drew from to retain custody of my oldest two sons after and through two arduous and dirty custody battles (even after they spent two years in my ex’s temporary care). It was the only reality I allowed when only a mere three weeks after the death of my daughter, I had to go into the workforce for the first time since I was in college and click tags on box after box of infant girl’s clothing at a retail warehouse.
I know about being the unstoppable force from when I decided to change my course of relating with others from the one I grew up with- a change to being loving, trusting, open and vulnerable instead of cold, suspicious, aloof and steely. I know about being the unmoveable object even now, when forces in the world at large are trying to rip me from the love of my husband because of his past mistakes and resulting misconceptions. There are probably countless examples I could give to show that what my friend is talking about is indeed the raw truth.
However, while covering these two aspects, he left out a third: Inevitable Impact. Inevitable Impact is when we are being the unstoppable force or the unmoveable object, and instead of the opposite energy dispelling when the two collide there is a jarring crash. Despite our commitment (and even success) at moving forward against the odds or standing our ground despite the threat, there are times when we still have to face the pain of meeting the momentum that we are moving toward (or that is moving toward us).
There is another blogger I admire who writes many beautiful and insightful pieces about letting go of this world to gain the next, to gain Allah. She often talks about holding dunya in the hand and Allah in the heart instead of the other way around. Many people need to hear what she says about these things, because there are far too many people who are sabotaging their lives and their hereafter by having their priorities out of order. There is no end to the lessons we can learn about having less attachment to the world, and less pain from that attachment.
Yet, I sense that she is also factoring out the Inevitable Impact. Sometimes when I read what she writes, I see someone so desperate not to hurt that she tries to let go of everything that could possibly cause hurt. I hate to say it, but sometimes it doesn’t come across as depending solely on Allah, but depending solely on avoidance of attachment to keep pain away. One thing Allah shows us very clearly is that the closer we get to Him and the more we love Him and His Messenger (saws), the more we can expect to suffer and experience hardship. Even the closer we get to Hell, the more we are stricken so we will be prodded into avoiding it! There is no way to divorce Islam from experiencing tests. There is no way to be on the Siratul Mustaqin without facing pain at certain points.
So while we should absolutely be ready to be an unreckonable force, a stoic and fearless oak, and denouncing all that is truly transient, we have to be ready and able to face that last aspect…the inevitable impact of unavoidable pain.
I understand how natural it is to want to avoid it. We take care in cooking to not burn ourselves on hot stoves. We guard our driving so we don’t have tragic collisions. We even put off exercising so we don’t have to deal with the resultant aches! Pain avoidance is an entirely human reaction to the world we live in. Yet, when it comes to our spirituality, we have to retrain our souls from one of avoiding pain to one of bathing in it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating living a sinful lifestyle so that we can immerse ourselves in the wrong kind of pain. Pain from heartache after involvement in haraam relationships is to be avoided. Pain from a hangover after a night of drinking should be shunned. We avoid those pains by avoiding the prohibited actions that cause them and many other types of turmoil.
No, I’m talking about the pain of having loved someone in marriage, truly and deeply, but yet the marriage failed despite best attempts. I’m talking about the pain of giving everything you have to raise a child to fear Allah and love Islam, and they instead rebel and turn toward sinfulness. I’m talking about the pain of having done everything you possibly could to make things the way they ought to be, but it just doesn’t work out by Allah’s will. No matter how much we might do well at being unmoveable or unstoppeable, “failure” can still happen, and it will hurt tremendously.
Sitting in that pain, embracing that pain, even loving that pain is one of the most difficult things we can do. Yet, when we do let ourselves be overcome by that pain, we are given barakah beyond measure. We begin to see divine decree unfold in ways we were previously blind to. We gain insight into our past, present, and future we were not capable of being aware of before. We are strengthened in a unique way, because once you face the fear of pain and master the ability to be in pain, you find that nothing can frighten you, nothing can harm you, and nothing can kill the eternal light that Allah put in you. All of the beautiful things that my friends and other writers talk about is only gained through the full experience of pain.
So take my friend’s words, and try to be the unstoppeable force or immoveable object. Take my sister’s words and try to let go of every chain of dunya which binds the heart. And if, even despite these, pain comes plummeting at you with shattering force, open the arms of your soul to it knowing that the inevitable impact will transform you in such a way that next time it will take something even greater to shake you.