Sometimes…beneath the crushing agony of grief, it’s easy to forget the words of the Quraan, even though you hold on to it each day and recite from it, allowing the music of its words to wash over your tortured soul.
What’s stranger still, is that you are one of the lucky few who recite with total comprehension. So much for all the years of study.
A woman walked into the bakery this morning. She has eyes that are bluer than the sky at noon. She took a doughnut. ”Not for me,” she said. “For my mother in law.”
“How is she?” I ask, recalling a previous conversation concerning her mother in law who lives in an old age home. On that occasion she and her husband had been summoned by the authorities at the home to resolve a situation where the older woman had turned violent against a fellow resident.
“She’s coming to stay with us.” Her eyes are shiny.
“She’s in an old age home. Ever since she’s been there…she’s deteriorated. Old age is not a sickness.”
At this point it dawns on me that this conversation is as much of an attempt to convince herself as it is to inform the listener.
“It’s hard living with her.” The internal strife rages in her eyes.
“May God make it easy for you.” My words. “May He give you the strength to deal with it all.”
“He will.” Her voice never wavers. Grows stronger.
“He never gives us more than we can bear.”
I feel my body flood.
Of all the fear. All the uncertainty.
What remains is the hard nub of human existence, the thing that brings the woman who has buried her child to her feet once more…
Hope. It’s all I have left.
“That’s a verse from the Quraan,” I say. My own eyes swimming.
How is it that she found me on this day, when the glass glued to my hand feels heavier than ever? And even though more than anything I’d like to put it down; lay my burden aside for a bit, the glue eats into my skin and the weight drags my arm downward.
She has never heard of la ilaha illallah. And yet...
Suddenly the leaden water evaporates from the glass. The glue ages. Weakens. I lay the near empty glass aside. I place all hope and trust in Him.
And I know that each breath, each heartbeat whispers of Hope. And that the second between each one. That’s distilled Faith.
P.S. This post was meant to have been an article for a local magazine. Had been accepted, in fact. Was to have been the first of a series entitled 'Behind the Counter'. But then the editor of the editor decided that he didn't 'get' it. I decided that fragile egos don't 'do' rejection too well. And that was that. Abortion pre term. A cliché , rather personal at that.
Who knows, maybe someday :)