Tag Archives: blessing

Singing, Swinging, and Walking Barefoot!


I couldn’t have imagined what fun I would have today. I woke up early again in Fremont (I guess there’s part of me that’s still on East Coast time), wrote, read, and returned to sleep. When I woke again to get ready to check out, I decided it would be neat to stop by Casa de Fruta, a place I frequently visited as child. It wasn’t too far off the route I planned taking back toward Los Angeles, and I always had fond memories of playing all over the grounds when I accompanied my grandparents to the swap meets that occasionally were hosted there.

I arrived at my destination a little before noon. I was surprised -thrilled in fact- to see that the place looked virtually unchanged from the last time I remember being there…which must’ve been when I was at least 10 or 13. That’s one of the things I love about California- that things don’t change so quickly. It always comforts me to see the familiar landmarks.

So I parked, took my prayer rug and purse, and decided to start by following on foot the miniature train tracks heading back behind the RV park section. I was looking for an area of track I used to call the “slanter”, which used to be so close to a cliff that it felt like we were going to fall off as we rode along. I didn’t find it, but perhaps that’s because the tracks were brought in away from the cliff (I did manage to find that)…..either that or I just remember it being much more frightening than it actually was.

As I rounded the curve where the tracks passed by the second playground near the RV hookups, the adhan for dhuhr played through my headphones. I was already near a grassy clearning, so I went ahead and made it there. I continued my path along the tracks when I noticed a lone steer laying in a pen. I walked over to him and gave him salaams. He didn’t seem interested in me, but I kept talking to him. I told him I understood how lonely he must feel and asked if he got many vistors. As I was chattering, “Always be There” by Maher Zain began to play. I know I was the only one who could hear it, but no one was around and I went ahead and started singing it to old Mr. Steer. Then, he decided to get himself up and come over to where I was standing near his fence. He just kept watching me as I sang. I started to walk again slowly ahead, singing all the while, and the steer “followed” me. I guess he liked my company 🙂 After the song was over, I gave him salaams again and proceeded to the playground area where the carousel was.

Even though they had installed a new playset next to the old one, everything else was exactly as it was when I was a child. I had a sudden memory of losing a glitter bracelet in the pond from throwing bread crumbs at the ducks there, and I was surprised that such a recollection would float through my mind after so many years of being forgotten. As I was pondering this, a crew of peacocks paraded through and I giggled in delight just to see them. It was almost as if I was a child again, and all I wanted to do was swing.

So I chose the one that seemed highest off the ground and turned around to face away from the pond, so I could take in the better view of the lush, green hillsides and puffy clouds. I had nasheeds playing in my headset, which I sang to (yes, aloud) as I swung. I tried to go higher and higher, not caring about the little Spanish girls giving me curious smiles as they played nearby. I closed my eyes and blissfully absorbed the pure freedom that came from such a simple pleasure. I leaned back and wished I could just fly away.

After about an hour of that, I decided I should go ahead and be on my way. I decided to stop in the store first to get a caffeinated drink, as I felt the swinging had tired me a little and I didn’t want to feel that way while driving. I perused all the produce offerings, and palmed one of the avocados which was scandalously ripe. I purchased a Starbuck’s Frappuccino and returned outside, where I noticed the “haunted” train tunnel. I walked over to it to take a closer look, and saw the stairs leading up to a seating area atop its “mountain”. I decided that was a nice enough place to drink my café, and I spent a few minutes there feeling grateful to Allah for the beauty all around. I felt like I was beginning to find myself, little bit by little bit.

When I finished, I began walking back toward my car. I passed by “Casa de Candy”, and thought I probably shouldn’t pass that up, which was a good thing because there they were selling the ever elusive U-no candy bars I had been trying to find the entire trip. They don’t sell them in Georgia, and I promised my sons I would bring them back several. I thanked Allah for giving me the chance to keep my word, and then got back on the road.

The drive to the coastline was breathtakingly gorgeous. The gentle, verdant foothills all around seemed to mark a path for the billowing clouds to follow in their celestial hijra. Driving the winding coastal highway made me feel like I was gliding over the cresting waves, through the azure sky and right into the unhidden sun itself. Sometimes I think these amazing drives are the best part of the vacation. The only disappointment was that there was not an opportunity to access the beach well enough to make salat until I reached Cambria, right before Asr was to go out.

I pulled off and exited the car as I caught my breath at the endless expanse of sea before me. I had always wanted to make salat on a beach, and use the saltwater for wudu. The wind gusted around me as I walked down to the pebbled shoreline. I timidly approached the ebbing tide, which seemed to retreat from me even with its influx back upon the beach. When I finally thought I was close enough to lean down and begin washing my hands in the saline foam, a rush of tide came at me forcefully. I tried stepping back from it to avoid my shoes getting soaked, but I only managed to stumble backwards and nearly fall. Before I could fully escape another small wave licked around my shins and drenched everything below my knees. I laughed riotously as I chased the waters back toward the sea to catch another handful of it to finish my wudu. I couldn’t stop laughing, actually, even as I finished washing and began to make my salat safely away from the tide.

When I returned to my car after prayer, I peeled off my “cheap” Chinatown shoes and kufs. I threw them on the passenger side floor, and kicked on the heat full blast and set it to blow on them, hoping to mostly dry them and my wet pant bottoms. I cracked my window to offset the temperature and continued my drive barefoot.

I decided to stop for the night in San Luis Obispo. Whenever I look for a room, I try to find something that looks like a cheap hole in the wall. I usually expect such places to be kind of flaky, but the truth is every place I have stayed at has actually been pretty nice once I get in the room. Tonight I have a plush king sized bed and tasteful décor, with a nicely tiled shower. I do kind of miss the little room I had in San Francico, though. When I finished bringing all my luggage in (still barefoot), I realized I hadn’t eaten all day and thought it would be a good idea to finish off the leftovers I had brought from Fremont. I needed something to drink, however, and since my footwear was still drying I decided to drive barefoot again to a local fast food restaurant so I could just order a beverage in the drive thru.

I thought it was kind of strange that the first place I passed -a Taco Bell- had no drive thru at all. I thought maybe it was just fluke and continued on until I saw a Jack in the Box…but it also had no drive thru. I drove a couple more blocks and sure enough, none of the fast food restaurants had drive thrus. But I needed a drink, regardless of being barefoot. I ended up heading back toward my hotel and stopping in a gas station (barefoot, of course) and grabbing a bottled soda. I asked the clerk if there was some kind of law against having drive thru’s here, and he actually said there was! I laughed my barefoot self all the way back to my parked car, thinking there could not have been a more humorous ending than this to such a joyful day.


Allah is The Answer


My middle son misses me. He called at all hours of the morning (the time difference did not help), crying and crying. I felt so helpless, being so far away, but I completely understood what it feels like for him. The best I could do was stay with him on the phone until he was able to calm down and put his mind on other things.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from today. It was important for me to find my mom’s old house, and the apprehension in what may lie ahead kept me from getting restful sleep. When it became apparent at 9 AM that there was not going to be any more opportunities for me to go back to bed before I had to check out, I went ahead and gritted my teeth and got ready for the day. I mapped out the street she lived on, then went to the nearby garage and retrieved my car. I drove from Hyde to Mission to 24th, and found a side street to park on.

Just as I remembered, Lilac St was nothing more than an alley. I wasn’t sure if I would remember her door by seeing it, but I was going to give it my best shot. I slowly walked toward the alley, uncertain if it was a good neighborhood or not. There were a lot of trendy places on Mission just around the corner, but alleys always seem kind of scary. I proceeded cautiously, and was relieved to see there weren’t many people around. Some guys were just taking a smoke break from the back door of the restaurants that lined the alley, and others were residents unloading things from their storage spaces.

The alley itself was colorfully painted with one graffiti mural after another. One one telephone pole were three faces of middle eastern looking men, and on the next were three women in hijab. Most of the alley was lined with sliding doors that led to either garages or storage areas. There were not many entry doors, and as I looked at each one I could not hone in on which might have been hers. What was clear was that this seemed to be an area where artists congregated, and that explained why she -with painting being a consuming passion of hers- would’ve chosen to live there.

I walked the entire length of the way searching for the impossible. I recalled that my brother had told me once that the building itself used to be a train station that was converted into living units, but none of the structures appeared to fit that description. When I reached the other end of the alley, I felt disappointed and lost. I turned back around, hoping that the alternate view might trigger a flash of memory to help me find what I was looking for, but that didn’t happen.

I returned to my car feeling defeated. This was something I felt I needed to do, and I couldn’t even do it. I sat in the driver’s seat and began weeping profusely. Something so simple, yet so elusive, can hurt so deeply.

“It’s only natural to want to have a mother in my life…”
Yes, it is.

“I didn’t deserve what happened…”
No, you didn’t.

“I didn’t do anything wrong!”
You couldn’t have.

The tears wouldn’t stop. The confusion burrowed deeper. The pain painted pictures before my eyes, and I hated it for being the very thing that was chaining me to the unhealthy habits I am struggling to break even now.

“Ya Allah, please show me how this loneliness, this constant loneliness that’s been a part of my life since birth, is really the best thing for me!”

I sat, trying to figure out a way forward. A way to heal and find peace from these deep scars. I kept thinking that finding my future was the answer, but the future is uncertain…..except for one thing: Islam.

Islam would be my way forward. Islam will help me find myself, and find my peace. It already has in so many ways, but the more I focus on it the more Allah will meet me where I need.

And so that’s where I wanted to go from that place, that empty alley which had no answers or comfort. I sent a message to a friend trying to find the way to the Muslims in San Francisco. While awaiting the response, I tried to find the information myself via Zabiha.com and Google. Both were inconclusive, so I was glad to get a reply with a general direction to move toward.

As it turned out, I ended up scouring the area I was pointed to block by block. I didn’t see any cluster of shops with signs in Arabic to indicate what I was looking for, so I thought I would just make due with popping into the nearby masjid to make dhuhr and from there go on my merry way. However, there was some type of event going on in that area, so the streets were being blocked off one by one. I couldn’t find a place to park by the masjid; in fact just getting out of the area and back toward the interstate was nearly impossible due to gridlock traffic and took almost an hour.

In the end, I drove to nearby Fremont to attend a zikr which was scheduled for this evening. I originally had planned not to go, but I felt like I needed something like that right now. I got into town and mapped the venue, which was located at a park. I decided to make my dhuhr there, and kill the time by eating a late lunch at a local halal restaurant. After that, I drove to the closest masjid and made asr, then returned to the park center for the night’s activities.

I am so glad I went. Being able to only focus on Allah and my iman was just what I needed, and it changed my state completely. Masha’Allah, they even served us a free dinner. The nasheeds lifted my spirits and I felt lighter than air after it was over. As I walked back out to my car, I looked up to see the wispy clouds sifting past a brilliantly shining full moon, beautifully set in the starry, cobalt sky. Alhamdulillah!

I located an affordable room for the night in town, which is where I am staying tonight. I like Fremont; it reminds me of the San Gabriel Valley where I spent half my childhood. In shaa Allah I will begin wending my way down the coast toward Southern California tomorrow. My trip will be coming to an end soon, so I hope I can make the most of these last opportunities toward self-discovery as I continue exploring the land I love.

Grounding Moments


This evening I slowed down enough to savor the subtle moments that will define the steps along this course. My oldest son’s friend and basketball teammate had come over to spend the night, and I was making home-made lasagna with the best store-bought garlic bread.

The steam from the boiling noodles began to film the kitchen windows, and I smiled at how nice it is to actually have a kitchen window. How nice is to know that no one will be drawing the shades on my windows at 2 AM, keeping the dawn sunlight from flooding these expansive rooms.

As I gently folded the garlic, parmesan cheese and egg into the mass of ricotta I realized that these simple things, the collection of these peaceful moments are what will stay me from endlessly swinging back from my sorrowful past and forth to my terrifyingly unknown future.

I slowly lined the casserole dish with a layer of pasta, and carefully spread the ricotta blend over it in a thick layer. I listened to the boys watching Percy Jackson and the Olympians downstairs as I sprinkled the mozzarella shreds slowly and evenly over the sauce. I noticed how calm everyone seemed, how content. Tonight we don’t have to worry about someone being called a douchebag, or a retard, or an idiot, simply because they turned the TV up too loud.

…and it was a bit too loud. So I left the unfinished dish on the counter under the too-watchful eyes of Nya the cat. I padded to the balcony overlooking the den in my worn, black kufs and simply said, “That’s up a little too high. Turn it back down to 35 and keep it no higher than that.” The fading symphonic strains from the movie evidenced their compliance, and I wondered how anyone could think parenting needed to be more severe than that.

Dinner had been cooked, and laundry was being changed. When I finally took my plate to the dining room to join the boys I saw my oldest son had already cleared his first helping. His younger brother offered the piece of garlic bread he was too full to eat for Jed’s second serving as our guest told me he had never had lasagna before; that his mother only made spaghetti. I felt sad inside for him, but grateful that he was able to at least try it once here, in my serene home.

The Replacements


It is said that Allah does not take anything from a person except to replace it with better.  I can say, with every fiber of my being, that my present life shows this reality.  This week has made manifest a qadr I’ve hoped for, and I am humbled that Allah saw fit to bring it to fruition in my life.


On Monday we closed on the house.  Yes, it was anticipated, but there is something about actually walking away with the physical confirmation of what one has worked hard for. Imagine what Paradise will be, when such exhilaration comes in this life! I have to admit, one of the more challenging things about having the house is the deep longing in my heart to share it with my soon to be ex-husband. I can’t erase the fact that the main reason I toiled for this very thing was for his sake, and now it is being with-held from him. Allah knows best.  I have been struggling with a sentimental sadness and longing to “fix it” by taking him back into my life, but unfortunately the character he’s been showing these last few days indicate he still is not going in the direction I need my husband to go in…or the direction I’m trying to go in myself.  Fortunately, today I am feeling less emptiness about this and more focused on the purposes Allah has to help me further develop my sincerity and taqwa.


I have been thinking about all of the places I’ve lived since I moved out from my grandparent’s home; and surely this is the best place so far. I love the house, the floorplan, the windows, the feel.  I can only hope in shaa Allah that a good man may share it with me someday…whether he is a transformed version of B, or someone I’ve not yet met, or even perhaps a friend who becomes more than a friend.  Allah knows best what I need, even if it means having the rest of my life to contemplate my duties to Him. He is to be praised because He shorts me nothing. Ever.


My little one is doing well. He completed his day treatment and will be returning to school tomorrow. He also is excited about the new changes with the house and all, so I hope it can boost him to where he is not overwhelmed with the pain of what is being lost.  I will do my best to continue to help him in shaa Allah.


I have a new car as well, masha’Allah.  I went on Friday and bought my 2013 Dodge Challenger.  It is like my own little piece of California for as long as I stay here in Georgia.  I intend to take the best care of it so it in shaa Allah will last me for decades to come. I have never financed a car before, and up until now I have been adamantly against such things and would rather save a few grand and buy something older and used. However, I know that I’ve made a lot of sacrifices for others. There have not been a lot of “things” I’ve wanted in life, but that Challenger always had my eye. I wanted to do something nice for myself so that I could experience the reality that I am just as valuable as anyone else. I wanted to buy a car and never have to worry about buying one again for the rest of my life, because it will remain in shaa Allah in good condition and it is what I have truly wanted. Every time I drive it I try to make a point to be thankful to Allah for giving me the opportunity to make such a dream come true and helping me to do so, and remind myself of the value I have no matter what others think or what I’ve experienced to prove otherwise.


And masha’Allah, excess money with each check. Even with the new car and house,  I will be having more surplus from my pay than I’ve ever had before. What a queer feeling to know that I  could buy drapes, plane tickets, clothes, or any other ‘stuff’ whenever I want. It doesn’t even seem real, but the truth is I am not really interested in doing any of that. Sure I will probably buy a few curtains for the house simply because there are more windows than curtains I currently own; and a few other decorative things, but after that I would probably just give in charity, save, and pay down any debt I have.  The only point (in my view) in having nice things is to remember Allah by them.  Surely I remember many times I got something nice or pretty and just was so grateful to Allah for beautiful things to enjoy as long as He allows, always reminded that nothing comes except by His leave.


I guess for me it’s easy to see that even though all these things are very nice and enjoyable, they are just transient. Anything can be lost at any time, and I certainly know what being on that side of the fence is like. I remember a time when I was starving and pregnant with my youngest son. We had no money and were literally living off the cans of salmon given to us by a local food pantry.  All I wanted was a tomato to add to it, and I remember how frantically we tried looking for enough change to buy just one.  In those days,  I don’t even know how the bills got paid since I wasn’t working and not getting child support, and it seemed my husband couldn’t keep a job.  Masha’Allah, Allah brought me through that and so many other trials. He brought me here, and He can take me anywhere He likes. My only goal in life is to become who He meant me to be regardless of where He takes me, either good or bad, in this life.


I can’t help but feel, though, that seeing what He is giving me now…anything else I’m losing or giving up will have a better replacement as well in shaa Allah. I think the hardest thing has been the ending of my marriage, but I really do trust Allah will either satisfy me with being alone in this life, or He will bring me a suitable partner who is better than the one I am losing. It’s as He likes, and I’m merely grateful for anything He chooses.


I am going to spend the next few weeks transitioning everything from this apartment to the house in shaa Allah. In addition to that, my plan is to eat healthier and try to become a little more active so I can begin in shaa Allah to lose some weight. I am hoping that when I take my vacation after MLK day I will be in a healthier condition, and also have some habits I can continue until I am a little trimmer and eating as I should for my diabetes.

I can, and I will


I was thinking, as I was driving home the other day, that if one were to deduce my motto for life based on what I actually do in living it they might believe it is “rise to the occassion”.  I don’t sit around thinking of all the ways I want to grit through life, or all the lofty goals I hope to achieve. But, when trouble comes, I play defense passionately. Sometimes I laugh to myself because, being as un-inclined to athletics as I am, I probably would’ve been most suited to tennis because of the way I like to lob back every difficulty that tries to assault me.


My youngest son is thankfully home for the hospital. He ended up staying in the acute setting for a full week, and they discharged him down to the day program which he began yesterday.  He seems to do be doing better than he was when I had to take him in, but I am getting lots of opportunities to work on my patience as I again train him on what are the appropriate ways to speak to me or manage his own frustrations. In a couple of weeks I hope he will be ready to go back to school and finish out the semester unremarkably. In  the mean time, I am trying to give him a lot of focused attention and structure.


This upcoming week is going to be a very eventful one for me.  Monday morning we are scheduled to close on the house,  and as soon as that detail is out of the way I plan on working toward getting a new car. I had mentioned before how I planned to get a Challenger anyway, but now it is needed because the wheel shaft on my Hyundai cracked off from the chassy and the car had to be salvaged.  I am currently driving a rental, and I want to be able to return that sooner than later. I am glad that I will be off the last two days of this week to start working on my transition and fixing up the new house, and of course spending some meaningful times with the kids.


I also just completed the first third of my iddah.  It certainly has been a roller-coaster so far, but all the niggling doubts that I was having that led up to the divorce are quiet. That’s my marker to know that I made the right choice, no matter how often I long for old times. I decided to plan a trip out of town once my iddah is complete so I can refocus back on my own goals and values and start my new life with a renewed sense of meaning and purpose, insha’Allah. I have already purchased my plane tickets and requested a full week off from work. I am taking this trip alone, and I plan on trying to use it to really reflect on the things that matter most to me and what things I want to start investing my energy and creativity into.  I think this is the first vacation I’ve ever taken where I didn’t make a point of visiting people; for once I just want to get in touch with myself.


All in all, I do have a lot to look forward to. I have dreams to nurture and responsibilities keep me occupied and challenged. I was thinking yesterday of what my future might be like….if I will be spending more nights alone weeping what I’ve lost or thankful for what I’ve gained…and I realized there will be both. There will be nights I will miss the best parts of the “us” I had with B.  There will be days I will be glad that a particularly stressful situation with the kids wasn’t met with an explosion by him, too.  There will be plenty of times I will despair over the fact of never having another baby and living with the incompleteness my daughter’s departure left in me, but there will also be circumstances that will show me how much more difficult things would have been if I did have a young one to factor in.


Granted, things are not ideal. If I could create an ideal situation it would first have me living in California and not here lol.  I would have a healthy marriage and emotionally healthy kids. I would be a more balanced person myself, and I would have positive and uplifting relationships with others. I would perhaps even be free not to have to work. When I think of a scenario where all this fits in, it seems impossible to achieve in the near future…but one can never guess the sudden change of terrain that Allah might put before us.  I certainly never anticipated that I would be getting divorced after everything I went through with my husband, but here I am. I never thought I would be buying my first home alone, and getting a new car that I actually like, but it’s happening.  There is no telling what else can happen, and I truly am excited to see what each day brings to make the tapestry of my life that much more beautiful.






I can’t believe I skipped the whole month of August.  I thought I would write at least one entry….at least I intended to several times.  Suffice it to say that after my previous post I had a difficult time recovering from the emotional scramble I was in.


After I wrote that I realized what a problem I had with loneliness.  I realized that if anything, it was the one, remaining unconquered fear in my life that still had the power to rule my thoughts and feelings.  I knew this wasn’t good for me, and I knew that if I didn’t face that fear and find a way to overcome it, I would continue to be its slave for the rest of my life. Such things cannot be merely outgrown, or surely I would’ve done it by now. I also knew that the only was to truly bring it into submission was to immerse myself in the worst case scenario, so I did something that to me was very frightening: I asked Allah to push me over that cliff. I asked Him to put me in that last arena, so I could learn to triumph over this last weakness.


I really believe He answered that dua, because the events that unfolded soon after were very triggering in this aspect.  Yet, I still don’t know how much I’ve progressed.


I started to try to have as little contact as possible as I could with my husband.  This was very difficult for me, not because our interactions are always satisfying but because he was the only human I had consistent interactions with.  The absence of that showed me how shallow my support system really was, and how dysfunctional I was without one. I knew that I needed to build one, but I also knew that the only way to overcome that feeling of “disconnect” was to be able to find Allah and connect with Him.  Since I’m the kind of person who is better oriented toward what is concrete and tangible, and Allah is neither, this was nearly impossible for me.  It is much easier for me to find Allah in creation, but the hard part is always making sure I don’t give creation the adoration meant only for Allah. This is difficult for me, I admit.


So that task, in itself, has been challenging enough. Then, Allah decided to cue to my lonely past.  Funny, I thought I had worked through a lot of those things, so when my friend suggested that I try to re-establish a connection with my biological mother (when I had no idea how or where she was, in addition to the fact that my previous and several attempts to do so in the recent past had gone unanswered) I thought it was going to be very perfunctory.


Instead, the process brought up so many emotions for me.  They weren’t the pleasant kind either.  I didn’t have any hard feelings for her, but just a glaring reality that even if I did find her, she may not stay in contact. She may move into another sphere of her own life and lose touch with me again,  and I would be left wondering in my primal self why I wasn’t good enough to keep her around. That was magnified by the fact that I also gained access to my half brother and half sister, who were both adults now. They have their own lives, lives I wanted to very much be a part of, but they also could walk away someday…and inside I would be thinking (because I’m sick this way) “it’s all my fault”.


Allah says He never gives any difficulty without ease. If anything had to make me face why loneliness was so hard for me, well here it is.  Yet, out of the blue an aunt who was more myth than man randomly contacted me for the first time in my life with a mission not dissimilar to the one I was currently on- namely trying to understand her past to bring peace to her present. You see, she also was raised by her maternal grandmother, and too many other similarities in our lives and experiences came out of that.  I was able to have an enlightening and heartwarming conversation with her, and in so doing found the strength to face this insurmountable mountain ahead of me.


Speaking of mountains, that’s another thing I’d like to mention: since I’ve started this blog my experience of life has been one of falling and crashing to the ground.  Strangely, since this latest breakdown, I’ve not felt that way. I’ve felt like I am on the ground, like I’m exploring the scenery nearby. I can’t say I’m able to describe it more than that, but the peril of always feeling weightless has seemed to end. It’s a new chapter I guess.


So I’ve been working through these emotions and triggers, most times ineffectively. I need more help with it, because it’s so deeply rooted. It’s so deep, in fact, that things I would never expect to tie into it become a major focus. Here’s an example:  I have been having regular cycles since May (Praise be to Allah, that’s the longest I’ve had consistency in that area since I went off the birth control in 2010).  Essentially, I’m working! This is a good thing. However, this most recent cycle I realized that my ovulation day was almost going to mirror the cycle I conceived my daughter Nadhiyrah during, back in 2003.  I ran the numbers and it was readily apparent that if I conceived, I would be due around the time she was born (early next May).  I became attached to the idea of achieving this, because it would almost be like re-doing that pregnancy…only with more mindfulness and appreciation. Perhaps it would even be another daughter? Oh, how healing this could be!


So I tried with all my might to make this happen, and on paper all the variables were in our favor.  As I endured my two-week wait, I mused about why it was so important to me to have another daughter, beyond the fact that I had already lost my first one. The recent reunion with my family of origin had me thinking about generational patterns and lifelong wounds, I realized that the drive and need in me was so deep because it was a way for me to re-write my own past. To raise a daughter (and it has to be a daughter, since I am female) and keep her, cherish her, love her without abandon and raise her to adulthood myself was a way to undo those very things I did not get from my own mother, even my own grandmother who did raise me.


Unfortunately, I did not get pregnant this cycle. Yet, I feel that Allah was very intentional about that fact. I don’t feel it’s because He wants me to suffer, or rub my scars in my face, but rather to show me what’s going on with this loneliness thing for real.  He’s been showing me exactly where it came from and why I am this way, and He’s showing me all the ways I’ve been trying to fix it myself. He’s no enabler now, is He?


So I am trying to take these lessons as they come. I am trying to connect with Him, instead of humans. I am pressing myself for my true intentions, not the fluff I convince myself of out of vain attempts to manage my own life. It’s really hard, because I’ve been stripped raw in a lot of ways, but I can’t rebuild the same archetype that was failing me before. So, I feel frustrated and somewhat lost because my cheerful and confident imani outlook on life has been replaced by a confused yet determined handicap.


Allah is showing me the way.  During the two-week wait I also began reading a blog (that I found by googling 12 dpo) about a lady who had struggled with infertility.  The blog covers several years, and she had two miscarriages before finally conceiving her son, who happened then to be born at 26 weeks gestation.  She detailed all the familiar heartaches of infertility and struggles of raising her baby to not only survive but thrive.  I’m at the point where she is now pregnant with her second child (however these are all last years posts, so I don’t know how it all ends up).  In reading her stories I realize that I cannot find a way forward hanging on to what I never had, wish I had, or will always want.  I will only find a way forward by having gratitude for what I do have, and Allah has given me so, so much.  When I truly focus on that the way I should, I realize how embarrasing it is to even want more, or to think I need more.  I realize how poorly I manage what is already mine, and how I never deserved it.  This shows me how much Allah truly loves me, that He even gave me as much as I have, in spite of my utter incompetence to appreciate it fully.  And that love is truly a constant…and becomes more tangible the more I reflect on it.

A Miracle Will Break the Fall


This past week was an amazing one for me. It was a week where I felt cradled by the divine love of Allah; where I felt Him reaching out to me when I felt helpless and unsure of what would happen.

It all started Sunday night.  I was taking my husband and our son back to his motel room where he lives away from us through the week.  En route, the battery and brake lights came on.  This was the first time it had ever happened in the 6 years I’ve owned the car, and neither my husband nor I knew what it meant.  The car was driving normally and we didn’t smell anything funny, nor was it overheating. We continued to his motel.

After dropping them off I started back home. On the way, the battery and brake lights stopped illuminating. I thought maybe it was just a fluke, as the drive back home was uneventful.

However, on the way to work Monday morning, the battery and brake lights came back on.  I figured it was something I needed to look into, since it had now happened twice. While I was at work researching this, I discovered that in my type of car a failing alternator will cause those two indicators to light up.  I knew what a failed alternator meant, and I knew that since I was running strictly on battery power the car would probably not run more than for another day or two. I figured I would stop by the grocery store on the way home to get food, since there was a good chance we wouldn’t have a way to make it to the store later in the week.

So I swung by the house and picked up my friend whose been staying with me.  We continued on to the store, and did our shopping.  When we came back out, we loaded our bags into the car and got in. I turned the key…but it didn’t start.  Great! The battery was dead already, even though I figured I still had a good 24 hours of drive time left in it since the problem had just started the night before.

My friend asked a pair of African men who had just come out of the store to help me jump the car so we could get home (thank Allah I carry jumper cables!).  They were kind enough to help us out and bring the car back to life. I disconnected the cables and jumped back in the car, as the Africans were pulling out of the parking lot. I put the car in reverse to leave….and it stalled.

Unbelievable! Now what?  We would have to find someone else to help jump the car…again.  Fortunately the lady who was actually parked right in front of me came out of the store and offered to help.  I explained to her what was going on, and that the car would probably need several minutes of charging once it starts in order to make the drive home. She said that would be fine.

So again, the cables are connected, duas are made, and the car starts.  We ladies made small talk for about 10 minutes while we waited for the battery to charge up a little.  I figured enough time had passed, so I disconnected the cables and went around to my door to get in and drive home.  By the time I got that far, I realized the car was silent.  It stalled again as soon as the cables were taken off.

I realized now that even with a jump, the charge was not going to hold at all and we would not be able to use the car to get home. I explained this to my friend who had come with me.  The lady who tried to help us jump the car asked if there was anything she could do to help.  I asked her if she could ride us and our groceries back home, since we only lived a mile down the road.  Alhamdullilah, she was nice enough to do so. I made sure I took everything of value out of the car and locked it before leaving it there in the Kroger parking lot.

I was exhausted mentally by the time I got home and unpacked our food.  My two oldest boys, who were already at home, had already eaten. I was glad for that because it was one less thing to worry about.  As it was, I had to figure out how I would be getting to work the rest of the week, how I was going to get the car out of the Kroger parking lot, and how I was going to afford to repair it.  Not only that, but I had in my possession the check for my husband’s weekly motel fees sent by my mother in law, and I needed to figure out a way to put it in the bank so he could pay for the room.  The payment was already due, so if he couldn’t pay it right away he would be kicked out…and that would leave him and our 6 year old together out on the street.

My friend suggested we try asking a neighbor to take me to a train station to get a bus card, so I could take the bus to work.  I didn’t really have any money for a bus card as it was, but my friend was nice enough to offer to help with that detail. So she and I set out going door to door, floor to floor, trying to find someone who would be kind enough to help me.  We literally knocked on every door in my building, and either no one was home or they couldn’t help us.

My friend and I stood in the parking lot, realizing that now it is going on 10 PM.  We needed a plan, or I would not be able to work tomorrow.  A neighbor then came out to the parking lot, and having some familiarity with who she was I asked if she could help, and she agreed.  She drove my friend and I to the closest MARTA train station and I got a bus card to cover the next four days.  She was also nice enough to drive me by the Bank of America ATM machine so I could deposit my husband’s check.  He was able to pay for his room with no problem after that, Masha’Allah. We got home at about 11 PM.

By this time, I was exhausted by all the events that had taken place. I couldn’t have more of a reaction than amusement of all that had transpired, so I posted a tongue-in-cheek blurp about it on Facebook before settling to bed.  I guess everything that had happened affected me on a subconscious level, because that night I had some very tumultuous dreams.  Subhanallah, those dreams were very telling and encouraging, despite how emotional they were.

I dreamt that I had made arrangements with my manager to work from home the rest of the week, since I would not have transportation to the office.  In the dream, however, I didn’t seem to be getting any work done even in light of that.  My manager and his boss came over to my house to see what was going on, at which point I explained to them what had happened with my car. I told them that I was fearful that the Kroger would have the car towed and impounded, which would only make matters worse.  The men had compassion on me, and offered to take me up there to check on the car and make arrangements to have it taken to a repair shop.

As the dream continued and we arrived at the Kroger, we discovered my car was gone. I feared that we were too late and it had been towed. I went in to ask the store manager where it might’ve been taken, and he informed me that they never had the car removed. He added that there had been a rash of vehicle break-ins overnight, and my car was presumably stolen.

To me, this was even worse. It was bad enough I had a repair that I couldn’t afford, but now I would need to find a way to replace the entire car.  I broke down and became very emotional, even though my manager and his boss were still standing by.  I felt so helpless and overwhelmed, and the boss took pity on me.  He told me that he was getting some extra money on his paycheck for this Friday (6/22), and offered to give it to me to help replace my car instead of using it for his own hobbies.  He told me that he was giving me $5,000. At this point, I became totally humbled at his generosity and graciousness. I felt silly for getting worked up.  I began crying in the dream, so thankful that he had offered a solution to what I thought was an unsolvable problem. At that point, the three of us were leaving to go get dinner somewhere, and I awoke.

I didn’t think much of this dream when I woke up Tuesday morning. I knew there were a lot of details that needed attention, and I was going to have to maintain my energy levels to take public transportation going forward.  As I was getting ready for work, I located an auto shop right across the street from the Kroger my car was stuck at. I called them and asked if they had a tow truck to come get the car, but they did not. They offered me some tow truck company referrals, and I told them the car was only across the street from them.  They said if I could get the car keys to them, they would take a fresh battery over to the car and simply drive it back to the shop.  So I got on the bus and headed to them, and on the way I called Kroger to make sure they knew my car was there and make sure they wouldn’t have it towed anywhere.

Once I knew my car was going to be in good hands, and that I would be still able to get to work, I started to relax a little more as I caught the bus toward my job.  I knew I still had to solve the problem of the cost of the repair, but since I didn’t yet know what that was I wasn’t sure what I would need to do about it. So, I let my mind wander as the bus carried me to work.

Out of the blue, a sister (who I wouldn’t have known as such by appearances, as she was uncovered) came and sat next to me and gave me salaams.  I greeted her back, and she spontaneously asked me, “have you read this book?” as she was pulling a small paperback out of her purse entitled Tears and Tributes. I told her I was unfamiliar with it, and she went on to explain that it was about Imam Hussein and the battle ofKarbala.  As she was telling me about it, I immediately recognized that it was probably published by shi’ites.  I continued to listen to her as she told me, “every time I go through a hard time, I pull out this book and read it. I’ve probably read it about twenty times by now!  I just started reading it again because I was going through something hard in the past few days, and I just find the stories to be so encouraging and uplifting to my faith….especially the accounts of sister (can’t remember the name), who kept praying all her prayers no matter how bad the battle got”.  I was fascinated with this, not because I thought I would agree with the shia viewpoint the book had been written from, but because I felt like Allah was saying to me that there are still things out here to encourage me no matter what I go through, and it has been so for all Muslims through all time.

I was especially touched by what she said about the sister making all her prayers, because for the first time in my Muslim life, I made all my prayers for the month of Rajab.  I never before made all my salats for any month of my Islamic life.  I felt very happy that I accomplished this, even making up the ones I might’ve missed while I worked on this goal.  So to me, it was like Allah was saying He knows the effort I put into that and it was not lost or forgotten.  It made me want to continue making all my prayers on time, and making up any missed ones right away.

As I began to contemplate all that the sister had shared with me while she stepped off the bus, I felt my phone buzz. I looked at it and saw that someone had sent me a message on Facebook.  I checked to see what it was, and I saw that a very, very dear friend was asking me if I had a paypal account. I dreaded to think of the reason why he was asking, but I knew it was because he had seen my post from the night before about my car.  I questioned him about it as I arrived at work, hoping he would change his mind about anything he was devising.

Later on in the day, I got a call from the repair shop that the cost would be about $365.  My jaw had dropped. I was due to get paid on Friday 6/22, but since it was my last check of the month I would be using the majority of it for rent. After my necessary bills, only about $100 would remain.  I knew that the repair wouldn’t be that low, but I was hoping it would at least be less than $200 so I could possibly scrape up or borrow what I didn’t have to cover it.  I figured the best I would be able to do is forgo paying my rent, and use my rent money to cover the car.  Then, once it was back in working order, I would take it to the local title pawn place and get a loan to pay my rent…and pay back the loan over time.  I didn’t see any other choice, since there was not even a slim chance that my ex would come through on any of the $2000 in child support he owes me.

I resigned myself to this course of action as I continued to work the rest of Tuesday, all of Wednesday, and most of Thursday. Thursday afternoon, not long before I was going to be leaving to go home, everything started to change.  I started getting emails notifying me of payments made to me via paypal. My friend, the one who had pestered me on Tuesday, had invited some other friends to help me out with him. As their gifts continued to come through the evening, my eyes bugged out!  The gifts were adding up to almost the total cost of the car repair! This morning another one came through, which ended up completing the full balance (except for 61 negligible cents!) MASHA’ALLAH!!!! Allah made it so I didn’t have to pay for any part of the repair, except for what amounted to spare change.

This morning I woke early and took the bus to the repair shop and picked up my car. Once the paypal funds are transferred into my bank account, I will pay my rent.  I won’t need to pawn the car title, Alhamdullilah.

It’s things like these that make tests worth going through. It’s seeing Allah move like this that makes me want to see Him even more clearly as often as I can.  It’s moments like these that make me cry tears of appreciation for the friends who surround me, friends who are closer to me and kinder to me than some of my own family.  They are indeed the best Muslims I have ever met, and I will be thanking Allah for them and asking Allah to also show them the mercy and grace He’s shown me, for the rest of their lives.  It’s gems like these that make me bow in sajdah to Allah, humbled beyond what I can express, and grateful beyond what I can repay Him.