When two of my sons recently returned on their separate but consecutive trips abroad to see their father, the question that family and friends asked me was, “How do you keep calm?“
The truth is, I knew a time would come when my sons would voluntarily travel to visit their father. I have been bracing myself for that inevitability for a long time. So, when they each announced their intention, I was not completely surprised. Of course, knowing that day would come was one thing. Being absolutely mentally prepared for it was another. However, even the initial resistance on my part didn’t last for long. After all, I knew I would be wasting precious time and energy and achieving nothing in the end.
There are several reasons for that. The first is quite simply, my faith. In recent years, I have become increasingly aware of the fact that whatever my emotions might tell me, my actions are circumscribed by the will of Allah. Deference to His command is what wins at the end of the day. So, trying to deny the inalienable rights of my children or their father over one another is a battle I am destined to lose right from the start. To be honest, I would not even begin to try. In facilitating a relationship between father and sons, or at least not being an obstacle to it, I stand to earn reward from Allah. In all honesty, their father may have made mistakes but malice was never part of his creed.
There is also the fragile nature of life itself. I have witnessed people that I know depart this world forever. Then I have heard of and seen others who have surrendered their own souls in pursuit of the duniya (temporal world) and yet happiness still eludes them. My own advanced age is a reminder that I definitely have lived the best years of my life in terms of my health. All these combined factors are a potent message that ultimately, my faith in Allah is what has – and will continue to – sustain me in the time that I have left, inshaAllah. So when a drama unfolds, I try these days to take a deep breath and pause before reacting recklessly. A few moments of inner contemplation and a firm faith in Allah’s wisdom are all it takes for a less explosive response. Knowing He is a better judge for what is good for me and putting things into perpective help to immediately placate my thoughts.
Tied with that, is the recent shift in focussing on me as first priority for a change. This isn’t just about ticking off exhilirating adventures on the ‘To Do’ list of life. It’s about clearing the board and leaving just two words on it: ‘Me’ and ‘Allah’. When that decluttering process has begun (and it has, Alhamdulillah), then I can think with a clear head.
I understand that having faith is more than just a bunch of prescribed roles we perform in our daily lives. Though those are fundamentally core to the life of a Muslim, when they become perfunctory, that’s when problems arise. It’s a challenge to always remain spiritually and emotionally connected to the duties we inherit as Muslims but try we must. Alhamdulillah, older age offers a kind of mellowing out and calmness. I have noticed an increased insouciance within when it comes to news and trivia about my past husband and his family. That state comes from the understanding that Allah has chosen a better path for me now than I care to imagine. Although anger sometimes does threaten to bubble inside the pit of my stomach, Alhamdulillah, I am just as able to pacify myself once more. Light always overcomes darkness. Faith always overcomes irrationality.
Not far behind my thoughts about my ultimate purpose on this Earth, but intrinscally connected, are my own personal goals which I have set about trying to achieve. The space that they occupy in my mind is a welcome distraction from things which would otherwise derail my progress. More than ever before, I understand the need to keep busy and keep moving forward. It is no coincidence that those goals have saved me from self-destruction. I refuse to feel sorry for myself and I don’t believe that the world owes me anything as recompense for my loss. Besides, there is always much more pleasure in giving than receiving. And so I want to step out into the world and reciprocate what I have been blessed with. These days, I see the horizon on my future having expanded; divorce has allowed for that. My children are now young adults. Time is now my own again. I am still very much a socially active person and have never felt the need to hide away and practise self-pity. Alhamdulillah, instead I have seen how other opportunities to experience so much have opened up. I understand that:
Life is much bigger than marriage itself.
Life is much bigger than divorce itself.
And certainly, even if it’s a short road ahead of me, I am finally ready for this solo expedition, Alhamdulillah.
One thought on “A Leap of Faith”
Your positive energy and zest for life keeps you going. Whist there are sad times you evidently don’t ponder on it too much. That is because you don’t want to miss the wonderful life Allah has blessed you with. To say stay strong is pointless. You have shown that already by your actions. Enjoy life and look forward to what lies ahead. Any obstacles which we all have, inshallah with that mindset you will overcome.
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