Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem
I hesitated to write anything anywhere because I didn’t want to add to the cacophony of voices yelling at each other across the void. So much noise, so much noise, so much noise. I just couldn’t take it anymore.
However, this blog is really for my benefit. My therapist said I should write down my feelings and I feel strongly about what’s happened and what’s been happening.
I confess I didn’t know at there had been attacks in Beirut the day before Paris was attacked. I did know about Myanmar. I did know about CAR where some murderers are apparently EATING their Muslim victims (click on link at own risk – needless to say, it’s pretty shocking). I say the victims are Muslim because the conflicts in both those countries are along ethnic/religious lines.
The world at large seems to think that Paris too has become another battleground in the clash of civilizations. The turmoil in my gut tells me that whatever I say, I believe it too.
I’ve lived almost half of my life with this fear. Expending energy trying to justify my faith. Trying as much as possible to show people how not extremist I am. When really, I’m hard-core bonkers in almost every way. Including faith. I don’t do anything by halves. You should taste my chocolate chip cheesecake. But that’s a blog post for another time.
And I’m tired. Good grief, dear friend, I’m so tired. I want it to end.
And this helps: https://www.facebook.com/noumanbayyinah/videos/vb.185523868247030/626546100811469/?type=2&theater
Nouman Ali Khan doesn’t speak specifically to my situation, but applying this to my life has cleared a lot of mists Alhamdulillah.
My job, what I want to teach my son, is to deal with what life gives him. I can try and protect him all I want. But I know that life isn’t always going to be rosy. In fact, it’s almost guaranteed that at some point, crap is going to hit the ventilator. What’s he going to do then? What am I going to do then?
The sooner I accept that terrorists will claim Islam as their justification and I will have to face the consequences, the sooner I can move on with my life.
So some fool out there might try to kill my son and I. Or my husband.
No one knows when God’s gonna punch our card. This is reality. No use griping about it. Sure, it isn’t right. But it is.
So what am I going to do about it?
Fear sucks. So that’s out the window.
Insha Allah – I will live then by my principles. I will hug children (only if they want to be hugged, of course.) I will feed people, because God, nothing makes me sadder than fat bellies in one house and starving children just down the street. I will stand up for young women. I was one once and I would have appreciated someone having my back. I will stand up for women in general. I will tell the truth and not be ashamed of who I am – hijab, five daily prayers, fasting, horse-laugh and all. Most of all, I will make it my life’s work to practice compassion. And that means opening my heart. And trying to make sense of actions that, at first blush, often seem senseless.
The only way I’ve ever tried to make sense of things is drowning myself in prayer and drowning myself in story. Prayer is of course intensely personal. Story, however, is a dialogue.
Some days – some years, in fact – the only reason I stuck it out with humanity is because of movies. Movies convinced in the words of Samwise Gamgee
that there is good left in this world. And it’s worth fighting for.
I’ve gotten to know and love people I could never have known in real life through movies. To the best of my knowledge, I’ve never met a trans woman. Yet Soldier’s Girl broke my heart into a million pieces. To the point where I couldn’t watch the ending. To the best of my knowledge, I’ve never met a drug addict. But Half Nelson allowed me to. Maybe in our darkest hours, we’re still pretty damn fine people. I don’t mean Ryan Gosling-fine, I mean creative and fierce and protective and fascinating. It’s heartening to know that.
Maybe someone some day will listen to my story. Well, not just mine but all Muslims’ stories.
Until then, I can tell you this. I’d love to hear your story. We can sit on the carpet in my living room (you can sit on the sofa if you’re more comfortable there – I’m a ground-person). I’m South Asian so you can’t leave my home without eating till you burst. And I’d like to hear your story. You don’t have to agree with the way I live my life; I don’t have to agree with the way you live yours. But good God, I want to hear your story. The fear, the failure, the falling, the fumbling, the fury, the fantastic. The glory. The glory of being alive.
How people can kill each other after living lives full to the brim of awesome – doubt and love and heartache and beauty – I will never understand.
But then it just is. It just is. I’m alive. You’re alive. And our lives are too important for fear.
Peace out, brothers and sisters.
P.S. This dude just said everything I’ve been trying to but so much more beautifully. Nailed it. Just nailed it. Now I can rest without obsessively editing this post.