Tag Archives: divine decree

Be True to Love

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Over a month has past since I’ve been here, but for me no time has passed at all in some senses. The weekend of Bashir’s nikkah was life-changing for me, in more ways than I could begin to describe. Since then, I have been faced with undeniable truths about myself, life, divine decree, and the purpose of our existence in ways I could never have imagined before. It seems as though that dua I made to be shown how to live more honestly was answered in the fullest way possible.

When I asked Bashir to give me a divorce, I believed I was doing the right thing. I was looking at the situation logically, and shoving all emotions and attachments aside. I saw black, and I saw white, and I thought that’s all I needed to see. I made my decisions out of will and determination, because I believed that making decisions with the heart would sabotage me. I figured I could let my heart get with the program in its own time, as long as I kept focus on the direction I had set for myself.

Even when I found out Bashir had moved on to someone else, I tried to pack up my wounded pride and keep moving forward. I took it as a test of my resolve and gritted myself to make it through the blizzard. But when I found out he had actually married her, I was snapped back to the resonating truth that I had never, ever stopped loving him.

Not for one second.

I realized that I did not love Bashir because of what he did or did not do. Or because he failed or succeeded. I loved him because of who I am. I remembered how pure and unconditional my love for him was when we began our marriage. Whatever he gave in return, it sufficed me, because I was fulfilled in being true to who I was- in lavishing him with attention, affection, and obedience.

Obedience. Yes. Something that had slipped through the cracks over the years of our marriage, taking the other qualities with it.

Here I had spent several months parted from him trying to “find myself”, thinking it was about my personality, my roots, my hopes and aspirations. How daunting to see that what I really needed to find was my lost character, that aspect that actually develops us to the maturity needed to enter the next life without empty hands. I had lost sight of my character, my core essence in being a loving, supportive, humble wife and Muslimah.

All of a sudden the past nearly 10 years of our marriage took an entirely different view. Until that time, I saw the years in terms of his failings, his shortcomings, his wrongs toward me. Everything was myopically focused on him-him-him, and the mistakes he made had built up into a mountain I kept between us. I am not saying he didn’t have the responsibility to make certain choices or treat me certain ways. He did. But I saw that instead of encouraging him, being patient with him, actually trying to help him by being appropriately submissive, I rather became increasingly arrogant, harsh, unyielding, controlling and rebellious to his God-given authority. My pride had been blinding me, convincing me that I was blameless and flawless and entitled. I saw how I began treating him in demeaning ways, which probably only made him more inclined to seek solace in his own maladaptive responses. I was only happy when I was in charge, and he was on his belly.

Yes, by the time we had divorced, I cared more about whether he was following my rules about not eating in the bedroom, than how he was feeling with his anxiety attacks. I became entirely ungrateful, and I only saw it when I realized how far I had gotten from just being true to the love I had for him. For so long I had been wrapped up in how he needed to change and improve, while I became a worse and worse person in my adab and taqwah. I had lost sight of the fact that my day of judgment will be for what I did, not what he did.

As all of this clarity flooded me, I knew that I had been dealing with Bashir based on how I saw him as a human, not how Allah saw him. Allah knows Bashir through and through, and Allah knows what Bashir is worth more than I do. I had to consider that perhaps I got it wrong- that idea I had that I was somehow rescuing myself from a “bad person” and that it was only I who deserved happiness and love. Perhaps the magnitude of my arrogance that had grown made me the one who deserved to be alone and drifting as though lost, while Bashir was actually the one Allah saw deserved mercy and promptly provided him a companion and all other means he needed to have a peaceful life. The ayat came to mind:

“It may happen that his Lord, if he divorce you, will give him in your stead wives better than you, submissive (to Allah), believing, pious, penitent, devout, inclined to fasting, widows and maids. “(Quran 66:5) Also, the hadith which says, “They (women) are ungrateful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favors and the good (charitable deeds) done to them. If you have always been good (benevolent) to one of them and then she sees something in you (not of her liking), she will say, ‘I have never received any good from you.” indicates that such women will make up the majority of Hellfire.

I realized what a serious mistake I had made, and how much was truly at stake. All at once I was broken in a way I had never been broken before, and in the recognition of my folly all I wanted was the chance to repent and do it the right way- not the way that would please me or my nafs, but Allah only. I wanted a second chance.

….to be continued….

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Mawlid An-Nabi

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Today is reportedly the day that Prophet Muhammad SAWS was born, a momentous day indeed. Today is also momentous for me, as it marks my 10th anniversary of taking shahadah and becoming Muslim (if I were counting by the hijri calendar; the Gregorian anniversary for that will be on May 13). I realize that there is a division amongst Muslims about the conventions of “celebrating” this day. In fact, I found out about it first hand when I naively wished a group of my close friends “Happy Mawlid” last year. Until then, I assumed every Muslim recognized the occasion, as that was the only thing I had see from Muslims until that point.

While I understand that many groups and cultures have taken celebrating Mawlid to the extreme, and have made a dunya mockery of what should be more reflective occasion, I also feel that those who believe that celebrating Mawlid is a biddah have also run to their own extreme. They seem to want to ignore that today WAS actually the day our human example an the most perfect of men came into this existence, as though it were a shameful thing. They want to treat it like any other day, astaghfirulllah. While I agree that every day should be one of zikr and following the sunnah, I don’t understand what purpose it serves anyone to try to turn their minds and hearts away from the fact that today was one of the most magnificent and significant days of all time.

For me, today will be a day of meditating upon the unbelievable, life-changing events that transpired years ago on this same date. Not only will I give my thanks to Allah for bringing us the complete and perfect guidance that came through Prophet Muhammad SAWS, but I will be thinking about the way my life has been forever changed by confessing that he is in fact the Messenger of the only true God- Allah a decade ago. I tear up, even sitting here in the gate lobby as I await my flight, when I even briefly think of the beauty and peace Islam has brought -and continues to bring- into my life.

There could be nothing more fitting than beginning this next decade of my “real” life with a time of soul-searching and refuge in my home-state. Everything I’ve suffered truly has aligned to create a greater and more splendid purpose for my life, and who I was meant to become is yet closer still….and she’s so beautiful, inside.

That’s the true gift of Mawlid An-Nabi, may Allah be praised.

The Replacements

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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.

We Wait

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This morning I woke up thinking about a Bible verse:  “Those who wait upon the Lord, they shall renew their strength”.  Even though I am no longer a Christian, I can recognize the universal truth in this verse.  For any person who is trying to follow God as they understand Him, they find strength and purpose in submitting their will to His and being patient for the outcomes He intends.

 

This week has been a lesson in the stresses of buying a home. I’ve always heard about how maddening it is, but now I get to finally find out why.  It seems like the name of the game is compromise.  And then after you’ve compromised, do some more compromising.  What’s most interesting to me is how it took what seemed like forever to get our loan approval, and then once that happened everything started moving almost too rapidly.

 

As I mentioned in my last post, last weekend we went looking at condo properties.  Mind you, all of them were previewed online by my husband and I.  We had already pretty much narrowed down our favorites, so we were basically just wanting to see them in person to confirm that they matched our expectations and make a decision from there.  To tell you the truth, the process was not how I imagined at all. For one, I made the mistake of thinking the online pictures were accurate. As my oldest son would say, “sike!”

 

The first property we looked at was one that our realtor had chosen for us. My husband and I had seen it online, but were not interested in it. However, we decided to give it a chance. First of all, the place was tiny.  One thing we had neglected to do was note the square feet of each place.  For the last 6 years, I’ve been living in apartments that had anywhere between 1600-1800 square feet, and this first place was a measly 1400 sf and it showed.  The small bedrooms were crammed in the upstairs,  and the kitchen was almost nonexistent.  It didn’t take us very long to do the courteous walk thru and then reject it.

 

The second place we went to was much nicer, and over 2000 square feet. It was still being lived in, so the family’s furniture and personal items were still everywhere. Fortunately, they had nice things.  Even though the rooms were generally on the smallish size, the home had a good layout and cozy feel.  It was actually one of our top two choices, but after viewing the property our realtor explained that it was a short sale but not yet approved by the lender. Additionally, an offer had already been made on it, and was awaiting a response.  Our realtor explained that because of it being an unapproved short sale the negotiation process could take months if we were to make an offer. My lease is up in less than 90 days, so that was not a luxury we could afford. There were just too many “if” factors about it, so we decided to move on and see what else was on the agenda.

 

The next two places we saw were in the same neighborhood; literally 4 units apart from one another.  As such they had the same floor plan and pricing.  They both were around 16oo sf.  Again, the upstairs was small and compacted, the kitchens only slightly more generous than the first place we looked at.  Personally, I was very put off by the gold (yes gold, like shiny flakes) flecks in the black countertops.  It was too “disco” for a kitchen, let alone one with actually very nice wood cabinets. The one redeeming feature of these was the more spacious living room, but unfortunately it wasn’t roomy enough to offset the deficits.  What was appaling to me was when we went into the first place it was a hot mess (and this even though it seemingly had fresh paint etc).  There were carpet stains everywhere, and clearly you could tell someone had kept a dog in the house even when it had to potty. The second one had pet stains too, and was only in slightly better condition. Next!

 

The last place we viewed  was another of our favorites. I personally was very eager to see this one.  It was over 2200 sf and and had a two car garage. When we walked in, the entrance foyer was at the bottom of a stairwell. Being Muslim, I liked the fact that we could pile everyones shoes away down there without them cluttering up other parts of the home. As I went up the stairs which led into the expansive living room, I was awestruck. There were two large (6 feet high starting at the floor) double size windows along the longest wall.  The opposite wall had a fireplace flanked by a single size window (same height as the others- in fact this is the case for the entire house) on the left and a door leading out to a small fenced “backyard” on the right. The celing was vaulted as well, so the entire of feel at once was one of space and light.

 

Standing in the middle of that room, there was another set of about five wide steps to the right which led up to the dining area. The dining room was standard size, but because the one side of it was open to the living room (balcony overlook) it borrowed that space and made it seem larger.  Opposite the dining area was a small half bathroom followed by another set of stairs leading up to the bedrooms. Walking past those (as if you came up the stairs from the living room)  put me in the kitchen, which was bright and newly tiled. All of the appliances were new as well, and opposite the raised counter in the center was a breakfast area. Again, two large single sized windows near that and the fridge.

 

So far, the downstairs was ideal.  We went upstairs and the master bedroom was rather impressive size-wise, with another two double sized windows like the living room had.  The other two bedrooms and bathrooms were standard. Needless to say, we felt this was the house that would fit our needs.  It better be, because there were no other places in our part of town that were within our budget, and we really don’t want to leave this area as it is close to my work and the kids have been in the same schools all their lives. We decided to take a couple days to think it over and make sure we knew what we wanted and discuss any other options we were entertaining.  In the end, we decided to make an offer.

 

Up to that point, things seemed to be going fairly streamlined.  It wasn’t until we made the offer things started to go goofy again.  First of all, our realtor found out it’s a foreclosure being sold “as is”.  That means if it needs any repairs, it’s our dime.  Granted, the walk-through looked great, but there’s no telling what is hiding behind the walls.  So, depending on what comes of an inspection, that may or may not be an obstacle to us actually getting it. Another obstacle is getting our offer accepted at all. Our first bid was 10K below asking price. Mostly we made that bid because it was what we could afford once taxes and HOA fees were thrown in.  If they do accept our bid, and there are any type of substantial repairs needed, we will have to let it go because we wouldn’t be able to afford both.  If they don’t accept our bid or counter offer something higher, I’m not sure we could stretch it that far…especially when the inspection hasn’t been done to tell us what else there is to pay for as well!

 

So at this point, it would take a real miracle to get this place, I feel.  Basically the bank which owns the property would have to accept our offer straight off, or make a really great counter offer (and by great I mean one which we could counter-counter offer something maybe 3k more than our bid now, and they would take it then).  All of this seems like a huge stretch.  I know better than to get attached to a particular house, and I can’t say that’s what I’m doing here. However, we saw everything else our side of town had to offer and it was CRAP. I’m not going to buy a crap place just to stay in this area, but I’m also loathe to get a decent place a half hour drive away.  It seems like neither choice is viable, so my hope is that if this place doesn’t work out, something else will open up around here before our financing window expires in December.

 

And that’s what really burns me up about the whole thing. We HAVE to get ourselves under contract by 12/19.  Our loan offer only has 90 days of life, and that’s fine by me because my lease ends on 12/21. The part that bothers me is that I’ve already looked around at what’s available for what we have to spend, and sure enough the best properties are farthest away.  The only reason I’m in Georgia is to raise my kids, and the only reason I’m buying a house is so my husband can live with us without someone crying about his criminal background. I hate to make my kids pay the price (by uprooting them and putting them into a new, possibly lesser quality school system) so my husband can have a breather. I also hate the idea of settling for a crap house just to satisfy the needs for all of my family, because it’s miserable living in a place you don’t like, especially if you know you OWN it. Who buys something they hate, especially as expensive as homes are?

 

The reality glaring me in the face is that if it weren’t for my husband needing a home, I could live in any apartment in this area with my kids and have what I want and what they need. The price would be having to basically let go of my husband.  So,  in a lot of ways, if this house doesn’t work out it will feel like I have to choose between he or my kids. It sucks, because I hate to shaft him just so my kids can have the upbringing they deserve, but unless something works out it seems unavoidable that a difficult choice will have to be made one way or the other.  So this is where we wait on Allah, making fervent dua every day, to give us just one more miracle by making the way easy for us to get this home. Insha’Allah He will have mercy on us and see fit to preserve our family in a way that all of us are satisfied. I trust in Him because I hate to think He would bring us so far just to have something wacky mess it up like this.  I prayed even then, when all of the worst parts of tests were going on, that He would go ahead and cut the ropes then instead of making us suffer for it to only happen down the road.

 

So we wait…

Grounded

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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.

Life, the Encore to Dreams

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I’ve been in a strange place lately. Realities are converging upon me in ways I don’t understand, and it makes it feel like I’m living a dreamscape. I am moving beyond a freefall- I am floating in a mystical realm.

I’ve had dreams come true since I was in elementary school.  Granted, they don’t always come true exactly the way I dream them, but the overarching themes play out in essence. For that reason, I’ve always paid close attention to my dreams, trying to remember the more vivid ones, just in case they manifested themselves in such a way that I needed to take a lesson from them.

In more recent years, my dreams seem to have meaning for more than just me, the dreamer. I seem almost to have dreams on behalf of others. Couple those two facts with the fact that I am having a lot of vivid and even emotional dreams lately, I feel a little bit out of my element.

I tried to talk to my husband about this, and his response was that dreams were one portion of prophethood.  Already my dreams have supposedly indicated I have a special connection to Prophet Muhammad (saws), so this doesn’t seem to help me understand what I am to do with all the “information” that comes to me at night. I guess it wouldn’t be so bad, except that my more recent dreams have seemed to indicate warnings and big changes coming in my life that I must prepare for.

I guess the most disturbing part of it is the fact that some of it centers on my worst fears coming true….on having to end my marriage with Bashir and move on without him-against the choice of us both.  That being the case opens up the possibility of other dreams coming true; dreams that are connected but not in a direct sense.

I can’t help but go into a very serious and introspective mode when this is happening. I am trying to sort out the codes on these maps, and trying to determine when and how I must act. All the while, big things are being brought my way, and before I know it existence has become totally surreal.  I am at once building walls around threatening grief, while trying to corral tempting curiosity.  It takes all of my mental strength to ground myself and not get carried away with any of it, but just patiently wait and see what happens.

In the meantime, I am feeling like Allah is “hooking me up” in an esoteric way to others. I am almost shy to say it, but I am beginning to sense some of the life experiences that others are going through. Some of these people I’ve never met or spoken to in my life. Others I have never met, but talk to frequently. Others I’ve met, but seldom talk to.  It’s quite a mix, and sometimes I feel like I’m living their lives more than I am living my own.  I also feel in some ways like a sieve that Allah is pouring Himself through toward others, and I am catching what He means for them by proxy.  All of this is very strange, very humbling, but at the same time very inspiring and almost feels more natural than anything else I could possibly do.

I don’t want to try to interpret too much of what it all means, exactly. Suffice it to say that writing about it should help put some perspective on it once there is some sort of completion to the cycle.  In the mean time, I am at His mercy, will and service.

Falling….or Flying?

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I named this blog “peace in the freefall” because I face a lot of challenges in life. I would even say I face more challenges than the average person, and part of that is because of the choices I have made and continue to make.  Sometimes it’s just because of circumstances out of my control.  Most of the time, I experience these tests as falls off a cliff.  There have been instances where I actually am brave enough to face the challenge and “jump off” the cliff willingly, believing in doing so that I am submitting myself to Allah’s will for me at that moment and in that situation. Most of the time however, it feels more like I’ve been pushed off the cliff’s edge by the hands of Divine Decree, and the only choice I have is my response while falling until I land.

Sometimes, before I am removed from land (so to speak), it’s the idea of falling that is the most frightening.  Of course, it feels very similar to falling without a parachute or net to catch me.  I sometimes worry that the falling part will be too long, or that it will be too short and I will hit the ground hard before I’ve had the chance to adjust to the change in my reality.  Then, there’s always that part to worry about- the landing.  I’ve often feared it to be one that’s hard, painful, and difficult to recover from. Another reason I’m writing this blog is to remind myself that so far, none of my landings have been as hard as I feard.  In actuality, all of the worst things I’ve gone through have had tidy and complete resolutions or restorations.  I would compare them to landings where I am captured by a pool of water, or even landing on my own feet as though the fall were a mere jump! Forgetting how Allah has resolved my past troubles, is what often keeps me from feeling peace when I am facing new ones.

Last night I had a dream that I went hang-gliding. In real life, I’ve never done this; nor have I had the interest (or aversion) to.  In my dream, I remember being on a high cliff with my glider.  I remember that it was my choice to go ahead and jump off, or to walk back down the slope and let the adventure go.  I remember feeling that I needed to do it, that I wanted to do it so I could learn to be more at peace with being “out of control” and learning how what I do have control over in a situation like that can help drive its outcome.  I remember walking to the edge of that cliff several times and looking over it, worrying about things like, “what if the glider doesn’t catch air and I go straight in a nosedive and crash at the bottom? What if I can’t steer it away from the other walls of the canyon and I crash into one? What if I have to pee while I’m in the air?” (Yes, I actually wondered that, funny how I would’ve never worried about that if I had been truly awake!) Yet, while I was debating all those fears, I was also curious about what it would be like to fly, to be weightless and careless and experiencing something I never would unless I did this.

I decided to take the chance.  I ran down the slope toward the edge of the cliff and jumped off. I remember feeling a sick feeling when I jumped, a feeling of imminent peril, that was immediately erased by the reality that it was “too late now” once my feet left the ground.  That fear, the fear that had been swelling in me for moments before I acted, was now replaced by the reality of being in the air andd having to pay attention to what would actually happen next.  Indeed, one of my fears started to come true- I started to nosedive. Yet, I realized it was still a long way down, so I thought I had time to reverse the course. I jostled around until I felt air lift under the glider and it’s flight go from vertical to horizontal. I felt more than relieved….and I realized then even though I was scared and my worst fear might have come true, I was able to influence the situation so that it did not get any worse…and in fact became better.

Once my fears melted and I felt safe in the air, I could really take in the experience. It was not a frightening experience, it was actually very liberating and empowering.  I felt that I had faced the worst and found a way to make peace with it and even find benefit in it.  As I began to land near an ocean beach,  I realized immediately that the new problem of landing would need to be worked out. I didn’t want to have a hard landing, but I was feeling more and more that the previous fears I had were never necessary. I thought about how everything I needed to take off and fly was with me, and so everything I would need to land was also available to me. With this confidence I made it to the ground and then went back to the sales office and threw away my receipt for the glider rental and the sunglasses I purchased. I felt that I had learned how to do something I’ve never done before, and it made me feel like I could do it with anything that came my way.

Waking from this dream I realize how much it teaches me about the freefalls I find myself in with every new test and trial.  I see now that I am not freefalling without any protection, as though each fall were a haphazard accident.  I realize that I am not falling, but flying.  Sure, I may be off the cliff, off the ground.  I am in the air, and gravity is pulling me.  I will be back on the ground again.  Instead of it being a chaotic spin to the final resolution, I am actually given the chance to soar, to master the winds that I am thrown into and to enjoy the sensation of being at the mercy of something greater than me.  I am given by Allah everything I need to fly, to see things in a new way, and to land gracefully.  What I thought there was to fear, was really nothing to fear at all.  It was a blessed opportunity to be taken to a level beyond normal human experience.

Because of this dream,  I will be looking at my circumstances much differently.  I will be approaching the freefall with more courage.  I will remember that I have done this all before and made it down safely, in dreams and real life.  And it will be true.