2020 has been a seriously tough year, hasn’t it?
I mean, a couple of years ago, if someone had done a movie about a petrifying worldwide pandemic with multiple waves and prison-like lockdowns, we would’ve probably called it ‘tasteless science fiction’. And yet here we are, watching our loved ones fall victims to this stupid virus, and praying we’re not its next target.
Could this be the worst nightmare Planet Earth has seen yet?
And if it is, can someone wake us up please?
P For Pause
It’s kind of like someone pulled the emergency brakes on our fast-paced lives and we’re still stunned from the sudden halt. My heart goes out to those who’ve lost loved ones along the way, and those who’ve taken a medical, financial or mental fall. I swear my heart hurts as I write this; trying to grasp each and every one of your stories. I myself have suffered from severe Discus protrusion, so not only am I locked up at home, I’m locked up inside my body, with only my eyes going back and forth, like a cartoon character in the dark. It’s like a double pause. But you know what, it’s okay. I’ve had a lot of time to think, to learn and contemplate (with the help of lots of (legal) drugs). I’m basically listening to audio books, lectures, watching Turkish Series, dipping stuff in chocolate sauce (remind me to give you the recipe, it’s beyond heavenly!) and trying to manage the pain. All the while thinking: when will this end? How can we possibly recover from this year’s traumatizing wounds?
And then it happened…
I came across the following hadith and it’s analysis by one of my favorite Islamic preachers
‘Uqbah bin ‘Amir (May Allah be pleased with him) said:
I asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), “How can salvation be achieved?” He replied,
“Control your tongue,
Let your house be enough for you, and
Weep for your sins”
The Power of Words
At first glance, ‘controlling your tongue’ seems to fall under the gossip/anger category, but looking more closely, I believe there’s another hidden meaning…
It’s not just what we say, it’s how we say it and who we say it to. With so much new, conflicting information going around about COVID, it’s hard to tell which is true and which isn’t. The easiest thing to do is ‘forward’ the news on our ‘WhatsApp’ groups and Facebook pages, not realizing the impact they’ll have, and how while one person will shove it aside and go about their day, another will live in even more panic and fear. People have different tolerance levels, so if it’s not a message of reassurance and hope, let’s try to filter out the negatives and control our ‘send button’ urges. Don’t pass over the panic; for some people will literally fall apart.
Save The Best For Inside
‘Let your house be enough for you’ could not hold truer than now, since that’s where we’ll all be for the next couple of weeks. Many of us save the fun, the nice outfits and the high spirits for social gatherings, then go into zombie mode at home and I know that’s only natural. A special someone once told me that being bored with loved ones is actually a sign of comfort. Given my fairytale background, this was a hard pill for me to swallow! I mean, how nice would it be to turn the spark on for those we actually care about the most? I admit it’s kinda easy (and sometimes satisfying) to piss off our family members, since we know them inside out and have the insider tracks to their quirks, but I still believe they’re the ones we create the most beautiful memories with. Out of the whole world, they’ve seen us at our worst and at times like these, they’ve definitely earned our best. So bring out the board games, cuddle in front of the fire place drinking chocolate bombs and laugh till your lungs are about to burst. Dust off your DVD players and watch those old wedding tapes and childhood movies. Try new recipes together, Facetime your friends and relatives. Smile and be creative with your conversations. There’s so much joy hidden inside our households and we’re so oblivious to it coz we’re focused on what’s happening outside. The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships, so bring some love, tenderness, beauty and playfulness home, for in those lie the rightful remedy for all your fears and pain…
Weep, Love and Pray
They say ‘those who do not weep, do not see’. Do you think that’s true?
I know it might not be particularly fun to be sad, and it totally steps on the point I was trying to make above about finding joy at home, but how else are we supposed to relieve the excruciating stress?
Crying is therapeutic; it’s a sign that pent up emotions are being released, and don’t kid yourself, I know you have A LOT of those inside, especially in these trying times. I don’t mean it in a ‘throw-a-tantrum-every-time-you’re-upset’ kind of way. I think ‘weep for your sins’ is an invitation to look closely at your life journey and feel it to the fullest. We’ve blocked out and taken so much for granted. (I know I did). From the mask-less freedom we had, the sense of security, the hugs and handshakes to the stocked-up aisles at the grocery store. But now we can literally taste the fear of the unknown. Right now, a simple nearby sneeze can send us running for our lives. It does make sense to weep for all the time we wasted on meaningless trivialities. To weep for every hour we spent without dhikr, every day we passed on doing a good deed, and every harsh word we said that might have left a scar in people’s hearts.
Why? Because when you weep for your sins, you’ll take the next step towards self-awareness; recognizing how much you’re in dire need of giving and receiving love. Your sharp edges will melt into soft, tender words, and the practical logician inside of you will see new, dreamy colors. Like right now, my daughter is in the kitchen making snack trays for movie night and my heart is filled with love just staring at her. When was the last time you made eye contact with someone till you quenched their thirst for your attention? Smiled and told them you love them just out of the blues?
It’s amazing how this hadith is divinely crafted for this current pandemic. Resilience and salvation can only be achieved through creative mindfulness. (and a little bit of chocolate sauce* LOL)
I wish you ridiculous amounts of love, joy and laughter, enough to sweep away the dreadful pain of this past year….
I wish you happiness, forgiveness and strong bonds with your loved ones, enough to help you face any difficulty together
I wish you presence, warmth and fulfillment, enough to make you smile from the heart
And most of all, I wish you unwavering faith, serenity and the gift of appreciation…
Enough to let you see how much you’re blessed and how much you’re loved
Happy New Years…
Lilly S. Mohsen
Chocolate Sauce Recipe
1 Nutella Jar (350 grams)
1 Condensed Milk can (small)
1 Galaxy Milk Chocolate bar (40 grams)
1 Chocolate Milk (200 ml)
Mix all ingredients in a pot on low heat till there are no clumps
Turn heat off and voila! A sauce from heaven.
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