It’s a gift we are all given yet most of us are unaware of. Time. We squander so much of it either living in the past or worrying about the future. We’re often not content with just being in the moment and enjoying what we have now.
I have witnessed my own mother stagnate for the last 40 years or so since she separated from my father. Unable to mentally move on, her life has always been anchored to – and weighed down by – her past. If I could compare it to a ship, I would say there have been many times she has let herself become submerged with sorrow and gone under; she has let the bitterness overwhelm her and cripple her ability to move on. What is both bizarre and frustrating for me, is that she tries to mirror her own reality onto me. She has convinced herself that I have entered a similar state of emotional paralysis and am unable to free myself from the fetters of my past.
Alhamdulillah, nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, I had to go through the necessary dark period of shock, denial then acceptance. However, I can confidently say that I am out of that tunnel and soaking up the sun. I will not give my life over to someone else twice and especially not in their absence. Time is a gift I do not want to surrender without using it wisely.
I enjoyed many happy moments and experiences in my marriage but those days are over. Now I have to create a new definition of ‘happy’. Isn’t it a curious coincidence that the word ‘time’ means ‘the present’? A synonym for ‘gift’. It surely is something to marvel at. A gift given for free by Allah. He determines the longevity of our lives and as much as it is a gift, it is incumbent upon us to take the challenge to use this gift sensibly.
As much as I don’t wish to get stuck in the quagmire of the past, neither do I want to look with hopelessness at unattainable future goals which will never be met. Take, for example, the dream of buying a large family home. Rather than wallow in self-pity, I’d be far more productive if I target shorter-term goals within my reach. It’s not that I dare not set my sights too high for fear of failure. It’s just that I understand being kind to myself, giving myself workable goals, is part of the longer journey to recovery. Setting and achieving goals do not always move in a linear dimension in sync with time but move they will, insha’Allah.
I have heard of the adage, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” SubhanAllah, I could not agree more. I have been most productive when under pressure to do many things at once. It’s taken me these four or five years to finally realise that Allah wanted me to find my own way in life. Since I have been on my own, I have been the master of my own time. With Allah’s help, I get to determine the course of my day, my week and even year. Having that responsibility has made me more accountable to myself about how I use my time. Not only do I get to prove to myself I can do things on my own but, more importantly, I am learning and honing my own personal skills in time management Alhamdulillah.
Sometimes gifts don’t come wrapped in boxes with pretty bows. Sometimes they can’t even been seen or touched. But too often, they go unnoticed. In recent months and years, I have preoccupied myself with trying to get more out of my time than ever before. I have seen too many people waste their lives lamenting on the past they had or the future they never will. If I can get through each day without any major drama, having been able to have met my basic needs, I can say it was a successful day. I have exhausted the ‘if only’ scenarios and I know that kind of talk is only from Shaytan himself. I trust that Allah knows that where I am right now is the best place for me. With that, I accept His gift of time graciously.