Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Movie inspired writing exercise


I want to write about the way your lip curled. The way it cradled those words. I love you…

The way it gave me a world I’d never dreamed possible in that instant.

I want to write about the light. How it gilded the leaves, danced in a shimmering sheet, those ribbons of light, bathing my feet in their glow, glinting off children’s gleaming heads.

I want to write about the curve of your brow whose every nuance I’d come to understand. Whose line I'd traced a zillion times in every dream. 

I want to write about your laughter, its music. Your voice like my heartbeat.  Your breath like my own.

Your hands, tapering fingers, my beating heart nestled. And then they closed. Hard. A knot.

And instead all I find the words for are my tears, hot and wet as they trail down my cheeks.

Words, meaningless, to occupy the silence that fills our days, deep and thick. Words that smother all I once felt. Your words, like strangers in my mouth.

I should have loved you less. Why didn't you warn me?

I have nothing. Only the wrong words. 

And a memory. The ghost of a memory. Nothing...

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Qadr and choice


“Ignore those that make you fearful and sad, that degrade you back towards disease and death" ~ Rumi

Belief in Qadr is an important part of aqeedah. As muslims, to deny qadr is to toss imaan out the window.

Yet qadr confuses me. Since as human beings we are blessed with free will. The ability to choose. How do the two fit together in this puzzle of Life?

After much deliberation I arrived at the following conclusion:

Free will allows us to choose how we will arrive at the destination that Allah had destined for us. We choose the journey. The destination had been pre ordained.

Which means that my marrying at 18 and being a mother at 19, that was qadr. I chose how I arrived there. That it involved giving up a schooling career and spending time in Daarul Uloom, that was my choice. Had I remained at school, I’d still have married at 18. Or does it?

See, it’s all very confusing.

But here’s the thing. Wherever qadr and choice lead us, we are bound to have some regrets.

For instance, I regretted leaving school. And for that reason I did my matric after I had my son. It wasn’t easy. And sadly, I didn’t write all six subjects. Then I regretted not finishing madrassah. From that vantage point my life looked like a series of regrettable experiences.

But never once did I regret my son. Or the four children that came after him. Nor did I regret my marriage.

In 16 years I have learnt more and grown more and suffered more than I’ve ever imagined possible.

But I’m no martyr. No victim of life or qadr.

Life’s trials either make us bitter or better. This bit of five cent wisdom came to me today in a flash of (not so) blinding inspiration.

This, after a friend suggested that I seem to feel inadequate because I did not have the benefit of formal education and that perhaps I should consider a course of some sort. In something that I’m passionate about.

I know he meant well. But guess what? He made me feel inadequate with that statement. As though he saw some deficiency that he felt would be eliminated with some good old fashioned study.

While I have lots of energy and do a lot for a mother of five, I don’t have a death wish. Adding study to an already overflowing plate would be a one way ticket to breakdown.

Yes, I do wish I had studied. But I know that Allah had His own plans for me. That they didn’t fit in with my own plans for myself, well that was something I’d have to make peace with.

When I stopped being the martyr, when I stopped feeding off my regret and started living actively and accepting the consequences of the choices I’d made, doors opened. I’d never imagined that possible, but they did.

It was then that I finally grew up. Grew into myself and began to accept who I am, moles and all. 

I don’t have all the answers. I’m very much a work in progress. My life is far from perfect. But there’s a few things I’m certain of.  

One of them is that believing in Allah is an enormous act of trust. Faith is an act of trust. It is trusting Him to know what we need most, even when what we have is really not what we want. That’s a painful lesson to learn. But through pain comes growth. And that is something I’ve never doubted.

That Allah loves me and that I love Him, is something I’ve never questioned. But learning to Love Him as I truly should, that has been a slow and sometimes painful process.

This is love: to fly towards a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment, First to let go of life. Finally to take a step without feet ~ Rumi

I’m working on it…