I apologise for the longer-than-expected delay in writing: I have had some issues come up which have absorbed my time, attention and peace of mind, and I have allowed myself to be consumed by them. I have been praying every which way – and again I am in awe of how grace-full prayer is, and how strengthening – and this morning I realised that I have a whole life outside of these troubles. The issues that are passing through my life right now are a small fragment of my existence, but I made a(n unconscious) choice for a short while to become my troubles. I’ve been living like they are my life; they are me. But they’re not: I have a wonderful, blessed life with joy, potential, and fulfilling challenges, but I denied myself the joy and the pleasure of it because of the troubles which overshadowed it. I can’t possibly enjoy the things that make me happy, I told myself, what if I forget that I have troubles? What if the troubles take my happiness away? So I stopped writing for a while, amongst other things. But that’s life, isn’t it? The blessings aren’t only there when times are good; they exist to provide comfort in difficult times, too. It must be because they come from God.
So I re-chose today: I chose my entire life, and I chose to experience the joy and feed the blessings in it, because who knows, maybe they will provide more strength to deal with the next challenge to come along. I went out, and I sat in the sun drinking a delicious iced latte (the ultimate summer drink), and I was grateful for simple joys, and life.
And I also gave thanks to God, because in these testing times I experience myself as strong, determined and focused in a new way, and I take no credit for that: I am just aspiring to what God has told me I can be. Reading the Qur’an daily is a gift, because in it God tells me the human I am capable of being, the creation He made me to be. God tells me that His reward is with those ‘who, when an oppressive wrong is inflicted on them, (are not cowed but) help and defend themselves’ (42:39). That verse to me is incredibly empowering. He also tells me that He listens to all those who call upon Him: ‘When My servants ask you concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me’ (2:186). I know that He is the most reliable Hand to hold, and he is the Protector of those who have faith (2:256-257). So I am empowered and supported during my troubles, and God has also allowed me to experience a strength I didn’t think I had – but I do, and it’s like steel (and I believe we all have it). What I can do is take these gifts of strength, energy and resolution I know I have and apply them to the other challenges in my life, the ones that fulfil me and bring joy.
So I’m back, and God willing there won’t be such a delay again, all going well.
And guess what, I had planned to write about something else, but got distracted by this, so that will follow tomorrow…