Every individual goes through challenges in life. That’s a given. We all oscillate between the usual highs and lows, moments of glee and then stress and so much in between. Nobody can claim to have had a life of purely one state or the other.
In particular, if anyone does boldly (and erroneously) suggest their life has been only doom and gloom, then I can only say that person has not known gratitude. Because in between all the woe and misery, there is indeed some happiness to be found. The fact that someone is even alive and breathing is something to be grateful for in and of itself. But to train oneself to shift the focus from the negative to the positive is a process which takes time and a certain kind of maturity. My own theory is that the process will be infinitely more difficult if Allah is not in the equation. Without acknowledging His mastery and perfect wisdom, everything in life will continue to perplex us. That’s because we can’t look to humans alone to provide logic or reason for events that take place.
Instead, turning to Allah will invariably put our hearts and minds at ease. That’s because thinking of Him will necessarily remind us of our purpose on this Earth anyway. It is a recalibration of our thoughts – and that is a process that needs to happen often since we are a forgetful and fickle type. Worries about money, health, jobs, children, wounded hearts etc. will evaporate in minutes if we trust in Allah’s plan. A sense of calm should – and often does – descend over us. It is at this point when we realise that all events are out of our hands anyway. So, rather than question,’Why?‘ it would be wiser to simply accept some situations are beyond our control and comprehension. We just need to deal with them as best we can.
Back to today, like so many people, I am bombarded by the sobering news about rising prices on practically everything. Financial stress is there, no doubt, but I must consciously try to zoom out and look at the entirety of my life right now. I have to force myself to take a step back and remember what things I still have to be grateful for. And there are many. I can confidently say that I am still blessed with so much – things I am aware of and things I am not. I must reiterate to myself that life is not defined just by rising petrol prices. I must balance negative thoughts with the positive things I still have. For example, I have my sons who are alive and well, Alhamdulillah. I have my own relatively good health, Alhamdulillah. I get to see the sunrise and sunset and the world in all its glorious colours, Alhamdulillah. And the list goes on…
So it is the same with our past. Whilst unpleasant events that have occurred in our own personal lives will definitely impact our future, we can either let these events consume us or use them to our benefit. From those experiences, there must be growth. To simply lament, complain and stagnate will not do. There is a higher purpose on this Earth. Let’s face it; it’s clear we were never going to have a life devoid of trials and tribulations. Mistakes and tests are what we build upon in order to navigate our way forward through time.
It is this mindset that sustains me in my darkest days. Every time I slump to the bottom of the pit, I ask myself, “Is this it? Is this the best I can do with my life? What happened to my fighting spirit?” Judging an event only in duniya (worldly) terms will make me unequivocally hopeless and bitter.
Needless to say, I know the totality of individual chapters or events in my life have all come together to prepare me for my passage into the next life. I didn’t get myself an education simply to confine myself within my four walls. I was not gifted the chance to be a mother just so my children would occupy my time. And I definitely haven’t given up on life after divorce because I am still able to see the wood for the trees.
The world still has so much to offer and I intend to take the opportunities where they present themselves. The only thing I try to remind myself is that those opportunities must feed into a higher ambition – to secure Allah’s pleasure. They must never be for ephemeral pleasures only. With that said, it’s also true that the things which slipped from my grasp were also no longer able to serve me for the life beyond this one. If I understand that and keep that thought alive, I am onto something far greater than I care to imagine, inshaAllah.