Monday, June 27, 2011


I'm making lists in the hopes that a) I won't forget anything important, and b) it'll ease the sadness of departure by making things technical, straight forward, unemotional.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Growing up is Hard

The thing I wanted the most when I was younger was to grow up so I could be independent, make my own choices, move out of my parents' home. I craved these things - I craved the thought of the hypothetically brilliant process of self-discovery I would go through when I was "older." I can't remember how many times I've thought about how great it would be to leave home, or mutter under my breath "I can't wait to move out" or some angrier variation of that. I thought everything would be easier, better if I didn't have to put up with the quirks of my family anymore.

But boy was I wrong (as I'm discovering that I was/am basically wrong about everything I thought was true).

I'm currently in the mental gear of finally moving away from the people I've lived with for the past 25 years. And it's not all it's cracked up to be.

Now I'm dreading this stage of life where I'll have to make real decisions. Decisions that involve thinking about uprooting myself and moving to a new country. Decisions involving finances - and not just "can I afford these shoes" decisions; now it's more like "if I don't get this job what will I do for rent" decisions. Decisions about starting a family. These are stressful things to think about.

My ever-coveted "independence" is naturally also hard on the heart.

Growing up sucks.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

The year I spent with a beard.

One year ago today, I first met my husband.

I remember not wanting to meet him - I had pretty much sworn off men at the time. I actually only went ahead with it because I didn't want to offend my really jovial and sincere uncle who wanted to introduce us. (Later I would find out that he wasn't too excited about meeting me, either!) But I sucked up my pride and I went - I remember thinking exactly this: at least this will be another amusing marriage story to tell. In fact, this story has roots in my first meeting with him ;)

But, well, Allah is the Best of Planners. I couldn't have planned something so efficiently and effortlessly as He did, subhanAllah.

Anyway, my husband later told me that he was a bit intimidated by me when we first met. I'm the one who started talking to him first, and asking him hard questions. He didn't expect me to be so aggressive. But I suppose my charm got to him eventually =)

I left that meeting feeling rather content. I really don't believe in this "love at first sight" business, but I knew pretty quickly in my heart of hearts that this man had the potential to be the one.

And he was. And it wasn't complicated.

There's something about being married that contributes to a kind of serenity and peace of mind that I have never experienced before. It's not quite about being in love, although that is a part of it. It's deeper than that. It's a spiritual ease - knowing that a part of your life now has much deeper roots than it used to.

Now I understand this verse in the Qur'an: "Among His proofs is that He created for you spouses from among yourselves, in order to have tranquility and contentment with each other, and He placed in your hearts love and care towards your spouses. In this, there are sufficient proofs for people who think" (30:21).

It really is a sign of the Mercy of Allah, Who attributes great love to Himself - He is called Al-Wadud (The Loving). It's rather bewitching to think that God, the source of all love, deemed me to be worthy of having this love in my life. I remember thinking after I got married, what in the world could I possibly have done to deserve this kind of happiness? The thing is, I did nothing to deserve it - it's all by the hands of an incomprehensibly Merciful Lord.

Allah blessed me with one year in my husband's company, Alhamdulillah. Here's hoping to many more happy years and the strengthening of our now intertwined roots.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Nothing is Random

About a year ago, my brother was suddenly admitted into the ICU for what had initially seemed to be a regular bout of the flu. As it turns out, his symptoms were caused by something much more serious. His body had formed massive blood clots in his extremities, and any dislodged blood clots traveling into his heart or lungs could have been an easy cause for sudden death. But it wasn't his time to die yet, so after a lengthy and stressful few weeks in the hospital, he was home recovering.

It struck me at the time because he was a healthy, active, and young. And none of those adjectives are usually attached to what our mental image is of someone facing death. But there we were, living out of hospital waiting rooms and neglecting everything external to that reality.

But nothing is random.

There are literally millions of things that could go wrong with your body at any given moment. If one hormone is imbalanced, if one organ isn't functioning just right, if one body part gets jostled too hard...anything could happen. You could die today. You could die reading this. I could die writing this.

I always thought that I knew that nothing was random, that everything has a purpose in the grand scheme of our existence. But I didn't until now. Sure, I thought about life's big events as having purpose, but I never gave much thought to the small, seemingly meaningless words, actions, events that were all lining up a certain way so that an end could be achieved. An end that you may not have ever thought plausible.

No, nothing is random. My sister had to give birth at a specific time last year so that I could go visit her with my mom, so that I could just happen to meet my (now) husband on that same trip. If any part of that story had changed, perhaps the outcome would have changed as well.

And so I've been thinking about all the people I know, the places I've been, the experiences I've had (and am having). So many conversations, so many feelings, frustrations, facial expressions, moments of existence. Many of them seem random, but as I'm sure you've gathered by now: nothing is random.

And you're not alive randomly either. Your blood isn't successfully pulsing through your veins because of a random sequence of numbers and events. You are not random. I am not random. But we spend our lives as if we are. As if the things we say or do have no meaning.

You're not random. If you're alive right now, there is a reason for it. All the things that could have gone wrong with your body internally or externally...didn't. You're still here. You still have some purpose to fulfill.

Make it worthwhile.