Tag Archives: experience

Do I Really Have to Go?

Standard

A bittersweet day it has been indeed, being that it was my last one here. Tonight I am solemnly contemplating my return to Atlanta, and as always I wish I didn’t have to go. Indeed, the entire drive back here to LA county I wished I could turn the car around and return to the previous places I’ve visited, and never leave.

I spent most of my morning at Pismo Beach. After departing from San Luis Obispo, I wanted to have some final time to reflect on some things before wrapping this trip up. I pulled off the road and wrapped myself in my black wool abaya, and cautiously walked down to the shore. I listened to music, singing here and there, while I slowly strolled the length of the beach to its rocky cliff walls. The sun glistening off of the dancing waves soothed me, and I thought about how problems in life are often like this: out in the distance, they seem so frightening and overwhelming. They keep coming and coming, like the frothy breakers yards away. Some are so high, it seems as though they only will knock us down when they reach us.

But as the tide races toward shore, those ripples become smaller and smaller, until they are merely a gentle lap upon the sand crowned with glistening white bubbles. The water recedes leaving the beach shimmering like glass, with the sun’s reflection refracting off it like a dazzling laser. The streaks of iron decorate the shoreline like sparkling scars….scars not unlike our own after being tested.

I ended up staying out on the beach for about two hours. As I walked back to the car after praying dhuhr, I gazed up at the sun. The sky behind it was nearly black, and with the wafting cirrus clouds flanking it like miniature galaxies, it appeared as though it was actually guarding the entrance to eternity.

I drove the rest of the way to the valley along the coast, reluctant to reach the inevitable. Unfortunately, doing so put me right in the middle of rush hour traffic in downtown Los Angeles. The traffic didn’t bother me, though, as I spent the time replaying all the memories recently made. Now that the day is finished, I will do the best I can to prepare for my return flight, hoping that my next visit here will be very soon in shaa Allah.

Advertisements

Boots Made for Walking….Not!

Standard

The day began at 4 AM, when I woke reluctantly. I spent the early morning hours writing and talking to my best friend overseas on the phone. I was not ready to start my day even after that, so I went back to bed and re-awakened when housekeeping knocked on my door.

I didn’t plan to spend all day sleeping, even though it was understandable that my jet lag and personal lack of biorhythms had finally exhausted me. I made my way to the shower in one of the shared bathrooms and made myself wake up fully. Before leaving, I shoved my prayer rug, wallet and kufs into the larger shoulder bag I had brought, hoping to find some better shoes before I got too far down the road. I grabbed my phone, trotted down the stairs and out into the sunny street where life had already begun hours before.

I began walking down Bush toward Market St. My plan was to begin at the UBH offices located there, then divine a course to follow from that point. When I reached Grant, I felt like my heart was going to tumble up and out of my throat. I saw the indelibly familiar Chinese lions and architecture that forged an entrance to what was presumably a section of Chinatown. It was the exact location that I stood at almost 20 years ago when I met my mother for the first time; where our photos together were taken. Overwhelmed and suddenly nauseated, but aching to connect with her somehow, I walked over there and just stood in that very place, looking down the hill as I would had I been getting that photo taken at that moment. I tried to picture her standing next to me- anything to ease the heartache that was pounding in my chest.

But she wasn’t there, and I was reminded again of what I am trying to do here. I needed to find a way through the pain of this loneliness; these unhealed wounds. I moved past that monument and into one of the stores believing surely I would find the shoes I needed there, and indeed I did. I walked out to a wooden bench gripping a $10 pair of black flats with rubber soles and elastic fabric. I tore off my heeled boots, stuffed them into my bag, and zipped on my kufs before working the new shoes over them. Perfect fit!

I waited a minute for the last of the nausea to subside and then arose to continue on. What a relief to be able to walk at a more comfortable pace (read: faster) as I scuttled down the hill. Coming up to Sansome I felt like I could just extend my arms and run, and somehow magically fly into the air to weave between the buildings like a hawk. It made me giddy to watch everyone coming and going…from the others on foot talking on their Bluetooths, to the bike messengers whipping to a stop in front of a business, to the impatiently honking cars trying to pass the slower moving buses.

I came to my destination, and looked all around. Now would be a good time to eat lunch, so I briefly pretended I already worked there and pinged my intuition for a direction to find it. I continued down Market just a little farther, and spied a small shop that advertised halal gyros- Bingo! I took my food to one of the small chrome tables situated outside on the sidewalk and spent another meal with my best text buddy. I sent her a picture of what I hoped would be my next place of employment, while making dua in my mind for the same.

After lunch I decided to make dhuhr, but I needed to find a place. Looking up and down the street I felt that continuing in the same direction I was going would bring me to what I was looking for. Sure enough, just a bit farther down was the Embarcadero. I checked my phone for Kiblah and laid my rug out on one of the grassy knolls there, not far from where a couple men were sleeping. I looped the straps of my shoulder bag around my ankle and made the salat efficiently, then arose to check out the piers across the road.

It was there that I called to mind a poem my sister had written…where she was standing on a pier, looking for love. She was actually born here, and a lot of feelings came up as I sat on the bench overlooking that bay. I had to write, and I couldn’t help but wonder if this was a glimpse of my future to come- working just down the way, living nearby, and frequently visiting the piers to write out my grief.

After about an hour I rose and scanned the area, noting there were apartments or condos nearby. I walked to them to write down their names for future research, even though they were likely higher priced because of their location near the water. Yet, one never knows what Allah can do. I walked back up Drumm toward Market, feeling I had a sufficient idea what was over that way. I wanted to check out the other side of Market, going away from the water front.

So off I went in that direction. When I reached Kearny, I remembered suddenly that I was in what was before today only a fictional location in my mind. Sure enough, I found myself standing right next to Lotta’s Fountain, although without any water I wouldn’t have readily recognized it without reading the placard on it. I looked all around, expecting imaginary characters to flash through the crowd. Unable to resist temptation, I decided to go ahead and continue my trek to Seventh…just in case they happened to be there waiting for me with a recently recovered bike.

I passed through a retail district that reminded me more of downtown Atlanta, with their name-brand stores and mass produced wares. I was not impressed, but it was clear that it was a tourist boon. I continued on and once I past that area, I felt the energy change and became more wary. Looking around I could tell the differences in the type of stores and clientele, and the smell of weed hit me every other intersection it seemed. Wherever I was, I didn’t think it was prudent to linger there, so I hustled myself down to my hare-brained destination. En route I passed the Asian man, marching in place between two sidewalk chess tables. I wondered if he was psychotic or just exercising.

When I reached Seventh, I saw the Hibernia Bank building standing alone with no one nearby. It was cordoned off and a huge flock of pigeons paced on its stairs. I walked over to them, expecting to instigate their massive exodus. Instead, they eyed me cautiously and shuffled somewhat, but didn’t make any efforts to escape. I laughed aloud at them, decided I could check this off my silly “to do” list, and abruptly turned to walk back down Market street the way I had come. The marching Asian was still in place when I passed him again.

I decided this time to go left on Kearny when I reached that intersection…perhaps there would be some other housing that would interest me in that area. I found that segment rather unremarkable, and checked the time. The afternoon was wearing on and I wouldn’t have much longer before Maghrib came in. I took another left on California when the adhan for asr shrilled into my ears. I didn’t expect to find a place to pray, and was debating about whether to return early to make it in the hotel room when I passed a small inner city playground right outside of Chinatown. I rounded the corner into one of the shops to buy a bottle of water for wudu, then returned to the small park to complete my obligations. I noticed, while I prayed, that I was standing next to a tree with beautiful violet blossoms. Their fallen petals littered the grass around my prayer rug, which strangely brought an ease to my heart.

I checked the time again as I was leaving that gem of a refuge, and decided I feasibly had enough time to make another trip to Swensen’s for a very worthy treat before returning to my room. I trekked up the murderous hill toward Hyde, stopping once to catch my breath and take in the lovely view of the Bay Bridge which seemed parallel to where I was standing. Once I reached Hyde I felt so carefree that I just began singing aloud to the song that was playing through my headphones:…if you can wait ’til I get home, then I swear to you, that we can make this last. If you can wait ’til I get home, then I swear come tomorrow this will all be in the past… I didn’t care who heard. I had to get home. This should be home.

As I approached Swensen’s, I wondered if perhaps I just happened to get lucky yesterday. What are the chances that all of their ice cream is that mind-blowing? Really good, actually. I decided to order another hot fudge sundae, this time with raspberry marble ice cream. I walked with it down to my red bench (Yes, it is my bench now), and about passed out from the way the succulent raspberry ribbon played with the sweet fudge in my mouth. There was no rush, no fear…just a delicious reprieve from an adventurous day.

Yet, as I sat there, I realized how lonely I still felt. As amazing as today was, and as much hope as I have, I don’t want to spend the rest of my life alone. I wanted to share moments like that with someone, no matter how hard I try to convince myself that I can make solitude my closest friend. I know better than to hold my breath for another marriage proposal ever coming from out of the blue, and I don’t foresee myself seeking a prospective spouse out anytime in the foreseeable future. How would this work? I needed friends here…maybe a roommate, which would provide two benefits in one. Things to think about, problems to solve. I finished my sundae reminding myself that I have found ways to find such solutions before, and I can do it again by Allah’s will.

Maghrib would be in soon, so I walked briskly back toward Bush. I kept singing as I went -…I can tell it’s what you want, you don’t want to be alone, you don’t want to be alone. And I can say it’s what you know, but you’ve known it the whole time, yeah you’ve known it the whole time…I made it inside the hotel foyer just minutes after the maghrib adhan. Returning to my room, I made maghrib and put my fingers back to work, sealing these memories for my eventual dissection and planning while the band plays on from their clandestine studio.

Until tomorrow, in shaa Allah…

Siren on the Bay

Standard

Tonight I write from a cozy room with high ceilings, a wrought iron bed, and a window view to some type of rooftop garden with skylights in its center. There is a rock band practicing in some other part of the building, and their rifts are faintly audible in the silence of this space. When I arrived here, an aged wannabe rocker who may or may not have been past his prime popped in the office and greeted the desk clerk while I was checking in. I believe he lives here.

After lugging my suitcase up the winding flight of stairs to my room and delightedly finding two Hershey kisses on my pillows, I unloaded the bulk of what I had brought with me and left again with only what I needed. I walked around the block to a halal Mediterranean restaurant I spotted when I initially drove into the neighborhood, and was seated at the table that sister Salma was setting when I entered. She took my order and offered me some complimentary tea, which I graciously accepted.

The afternoon sun angled through the broad windows as I surveyed the establishment. I felt at peace being in there, and that feeling gave me a reassurance that I can do this after all…this “new life alone” thing. I sipped the tea while texting my friend about all the important things running through my heart and mind, until the best shish tawook I’ve ever had was served. I took my time eating it while I thought about how I was going to spend the next couple of days. Salma asked me where I was from and confirmed that I was a convert. She asked my name, and as I am accustomed to doing with other Muslims I told her “Jamylah”. She said, “no, what’s your other name?” I couldn’t believe it, this was the first time I had been asked for my legal name by another Muslim. So I beamingly told her “Amy”, to which she replied, “that’s a very nice name!” I was so tickled by this.

After my meal, I rounded the corner with my bag of leftovers and started up Hyde (or would it be down?) for dessert. I have always been fond of walking and I wanted to get a taste of what I might be in for with being on foot as I complete my mission here. Surprisingly, going up hills were easier than descents for me given that I was foolishly wearing heeled boots. I had stopped at a shoe store earlier this morning but couldn’t find anything I could comfortably wear with my kufs, so I decided to see if I might be able to handle it after all. Let’s just say I need to scout out a shoe store as soon as I can.

As I walked while listening to Maher Zain songs, I felt the ease in how everyone was minding their own business. No one cared where I was walking or why, or why my scarf was tangerine orange, or why I smiled at them. Instead, they smiled back and continued on in their own affairs. How so very different is this city from Atlanta, and it gave me hope that some of the weariness I’ve taken on from living there for so many years might be eased here some day soon, in shaa Allah.

I entered the small and unassuming ice cream shop mentioned by a friend, not knowing what to expect. I quickly scanned their menu and decided to get a hot fudge sundae with mocha fudge ice cream. While it was being made, I popped across the street to get cash out of the corner market’s ATM machine (note to self: there may be a lot of places around here that only take cash besides Swensen’s) and felt a sense of deja vu as I noted the way the canned goods were aligned on the shelves while walking out the door. I went back to retrieve my prize, and began walking back down (up?) Hyde toward my hotel to sit on the random red bench I had past earlier and so enjoy the treat.

When others tell me that a certain place has good sweets, I tend to be pretty skeptical. I’m a fiend for all things saccharine, so it takes a lot to impress me into saying that something is the “best”. Yet I tell you the truth, when I took my first bite of that unbelievable creation, I was utterly flabbergasted. I never had ice cream with such a rich and balanced flavor since Godiva sold pints. I really believe this franchise needs to make a comeback and give places like Cold Stone Creamery a serious run for their money.

That being the case, I deliberately took my time savoring each bite. I sat on the bench alone, listening to the electrified hum of the cable car rails and watching passer-bys with their freshly groomed puppies while ruing the fact that this will be the only time I will be able to enjoy such phenomenal ice cream until further notice. As the sun began to set I started to feel a bit vulnerable, realizing that I was entirely alone in a profoundly large city where I knew absolutely no one. I recognized I was taking a risk to stay out past maghrib (which was not yet quite in), and made dua that Allah keep me safe during my time here. I made sure I kept my eyes on everything and stayed aware of my surroundings while I reluctantly finished the syrupy remains of what I would call a perfect sundae. I then arose and continued down the hill to Bush St.

As I purposefully strode through each crosswalk, I glanced at the others coming and going by me. I understand now why so many creative types come here: because the people alone, with their unique stories and personalities (whether real or imagined) are enough to inspire countless works. Even I started having ideas of what to write about if I ever were to try my hand at fiction, which was something I had not anticipated at all prior to my arrival.

I then began to think about how my mother used to live here, and contemplated what drew her to this city. I tried to picture what my life might have been like if I had been with her, and grew up here. What kind of person might I have been? For better? For worse? Better yet, what kind of person will I become if I manage to get myself settled here, in shaa Allah? That might be a question I will someday actually answer, if Allah wills it.

I swiped my keycard on the front door of the hotel to gain entry just as the maghrib adhan was playing through my headphones. Once back in my room, I quickly changed into my comfortable pajamas and put my leftovers in the fridge. My sons are in bed, and for the time being I get to spend my evening puttering online and reading while the mysterious band continues their grooving.

I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings, because so far in this short afternoon I have been baptized into something richly exotic, vaguely familiar, and altogether entrancing!

It’s Almost Over

Standard

….My iddah, that is. As an aside, it hasn’t really stopped raining since my last post. When I leave work it’s only sprinkling, and then I think it is starting to let up. Then, as I’m about to fall asleep, I’ll hear it start pouring again. Anyway, back to my iddah coming to a close. It really is going to be over any day now! If I’m strictly counting average cycle days, then it will probably be over tomorrow. However, my cycle hasn’t been known for being predictable the past few years, so if I end up having to default to counting a complete three months by calendar- then next Tuesday is the very latest I’ll still be in this very gray-shaded state.

When my iddah began, I wasn’t sure what it would be like when I reached this point. I think I understandably expected to feel sadness, or some type of regret or sense of loss. In fact, I’m actually feeling rather peaceful and somewhat empowered. While there are -I’m sure- many wisdoms behind the iddah period, the insight I am coming away with is that (for me) it was a period of awkward emotional maneuvers that served to help me bring closure to the relationship so I can move forward now with more purpose and less baggage hindering me.

I really disliked the iddah. I am just being honest. It was the most frustratingly nebulous relationship status I have ever been in. Here I was, still married, but trying to figure out where the boundaries were since they weren’t readily defined (surprisingly, since most everything else in Islam is). All I knew was there was to be no physical intimacy (unless we were reuniting) and we had to live separately (which we had already been doing for like, ever). Outside of those, there were really no other “rules” about how to interact or behave with one another. I was constantly frustrated trying to figure out what was appropriate friendliness without giving the misleading idea that I wanted to reunite. He wasn’t yet a non-mahram, so I didn’t have a proper excuse to be curt and distant. Yet, if I seemed too aloof, this also seemed unreasonable.

On top of all that, I struggled with my feelings. All the good memories wooing me back to wanting to try again, and all the deplorable events that reminded me why I made this choice. For at least the first half of the iddah, I felt that I was at the mercy of these ruthless cycles. By the time my iddah was 2/3 over, I believe the balance was beginning to return. I’ve spent these past final weeks shifting my focus to my new life, and surprisingly I don’t have that feeling of “unfinished business” inside anymore. I feel at peace, and I feel I can move forward without being haunted by “what if?”

Sometimes I think about what I might miss most about being married. The first thing that comes to mind is just being able to get a hug whenever I need it, or having someone to talk to when I am bothered about something. I think I will miss having the companionship- someone to share life’s strange events with and develop inside jokes with. But I did have that, and what I had can never be taken away. I don’t know what my future holds, but right now my number one goal is finding Allah’s rahmah for me. That rahmah that will suffice me whether I walk the rest of this earthly journey alone, or whether Allah sees fit to someday pair me with someone to share a truly symbiotic marriage with. If I can find His rahmah, then I can find myself and cultivate that self into one who is more pleasing to Allah. That is truly what I was created for.

As always, I ask Allah to help me in this. Amin.

Grounded

Standard

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.

This is the Peace

Standard

My last couple of posts were borne out of my pain, so they were not very hopeful or positive.  Most of last week I continued in despair until everything changed (again, lol).  At a point, I felt like the fall had stopped, but I was not yet on the ground…or at least not at a place where there was a final outcome.

And I think that’s what I may have been mixing up. I thought that resolution and peace came with a final outcome, whatever that was.  I came to a resolution, I found peace, but nothing circumstantially has changed. How did it happen?

One morning I was driving to work, listening to my playlist of Maher Zain songs.  “Paradise” came on, and as I listed to the lyrics I realized that everything I’m going through in this life, both the things that I hate to endure and the things I seek to cherish, are not the main point. Nothing in this life is the focus, but everything in the next life is.  I began to think about it, and it became clear that everything I’m wanting right now: to be with my husband without any constraints, to have a home we can all share without worries, to raise a daughter….all of those can be found in the hereafter. Paradise is the only place I can build a dream that will last, that will not be taken away.  Paradise is where I can be united with my daughter, and be forever with her and my husband (insha’Allah) in a home that will never be anything but ours for eternity. Paradise is where I need to invest my time and energy, not into the shaky and unreliable events in this dunya.

I felt hope again. I felt motivated to keep trying, and to keep my focus on what really matters. I renewed my commitment to maintain and increase my ibadah. I decided to look at things here as only a temporary setback to the final, neverending goal. That’s what we were created for, after all. We are eternal beings, for an eternal realm.  We were never made for any of this stuff here on planet earth, except to be tested so that we can return to a realm more glorious than this one can ever be.

Things aren’t always easy, because there is still pain in being parted from someone I love.  There is still a need for me to try everything I can to keep my family as I know it together, and I have a plan I’m following toward that end.  If the plan works, alhamdullilah. If it doesn’t, there’s always the next life.  If I can keep my priorities in order, I am destined to find what I yearn for one way or the other insha’Allah.

This peace is a sustenance whether I am falling or not. It’s not a solution to the problem, but a partner in the experience.  It is what is holding my hand as I fall, as I land, as I rise and start walking again on the ground. It will be there no matter what happens, if I don’t forget it….even if I have to fall again someday.

Life, the Encore to Dreams

Standard

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.