Recently, a good friend of mine generously described me as ‘The Lighthouse’. I was genuinely touched by the accolade. My goal in life is not to fish for compliments but my goal in life is to be in the service of others. I don’t mean in the form of a sycophantic deference to another human being. I simply wish that with whatever time I have been endowed with by Allah, and the blessings He has put in my way, that I use those tools at my disposal for the greater good inshaAllah.
I don’t wish for someone to remember me in a eulogy at the pulpit. InshaAllah, like many others, I want my recognition from Allah when and where it matters most – the other side of this life. That being said, if I can bring a smile to someone’s face, prevent a person from slipping into a dark black hole or just metaphorically hold their hand through their strife, then I hope they will recompense me with duas (supplications) that will allow me to reach a place infinitely better than any spot in this duniya (world).
I know just talking about all this makes me run the risk of displaying a fake humility. However, I know that ever since I was a child, I have always felt the proclivity of helping someone in need as my calling in life. That is why trying to find an inroad into the charity sector has been a dream I have never let go of. Even through my married years, whilst raising a young family, I never totally surrendered those aspirations that were beyond the existence I was living then. I was just biding my time. Looking back on my life, I see that I have actually been fortunate to have had roles in the charity sector albeit working from behind a desk rather than being out there in the field. InshaAllah, that’s about to change. I am hopeful that my lifelong aspiration of being in the recipient country is something I am going to experience for myself.
Even now as a tutor to young children, I have never viewed my role as simply one of educator. Although my students don’t know it, I secretly hope that, many times over, they achieve that light bulb moment where everything suddenly makes sense and falls into place. I imagine a jumbled jigsaw in their minds where all the pieces are thrown upwards and miraculously land only to come together in perfect cohesion. It’s not only about my students understanding the task to hand; my mission goes much deeper than that. I wish for every child I work with to walk away knowing that no problem is insurmountable; that the only obstacle is their own imagination. To me, it’s important that people, young or old, are never sold the lie that they can’t do something without having even tried. Of course, there will be some situations which no human can defy. However, taking calculated risks is important. Living life in safe contentment is never going to produce great things for anyone.
So, although this lighthouse wishes to guide passing ships on their way to safety, it also wants those ships to know that no encounter is fortuitous. A lighthouse is only as useful as the ships it serves and, as such, it is those ships that justify the existence of the lighthouse in the first place.