Remember all that bitching and moaning I’d done about my work and my senile boss and how I had come to loathe the office setting, desk, chair, politics and just about everything else in the corporate world? Well, about four weeks ago as fate would have it, I left all my doubts and reservations behind and jumped into an abyss not expecting anything to come of it.
The result is that as of last week, my life has taken a dramatic turn into another direction. And of course I’m elated... and hopeful and optimistic and... terrified! And this is where Patty’s voice rings in my head “this is no time to be a chicken-shit Frances”. Thing is, this is exactly what I’ve wanted and while there are certain drawbacks that come with this opportunity, it is exactly what I need, to get to where I want to be... hence “this is no time to be a chicken-shit Frances!”.
I do not have the time nor the emotional capacity for fear. Vivir con miedo, es como vivir a medias! A life lived in fear is a life half lived! Suck it up. Be a woman. I have to claw every ounce of courage from this flesh and these bones, put on my brave face and jump in the deep end. And I can be brave. I know I can be brave to the point of fearlessness. And when I’m fearless, nothing and no one can stand in my way. Now, if only I could remember how... it’s not like they printed these instructions on my box of Kelloggs Cornflakes.
It’s times like these that I often find that I have no one to talk to. Sure, I can comfort and counsel all and sundry with their problems, but for some reason I just cannot seem to find that same kind of comfort and counsel with anyone – including those closest to me. It’s usually during these times, that I prefer to turn to a higher power for guidance and assurance and more often than not, I find that I usually end up counselling myself through Him.
As a practising Muslim, I am very Pro-God. Even if I wanted to, I could never NOT believe because I’ve witnessed too many sheer miracles in my lifetime that cannot be attributed to co-incidences or science or anything else that can be used as an excuse. I’ve seen too much... and I continue to see The Almighty’s hand at work in my life and in other lives too... but hey look, I’m not here to preach to the public ok...
For the record, when it comes to different beliefs, I ardently believe that EVERY SINGLE PERSON on this earth has a life purpose. Every single person is EXACTLY where they’re meant to be. Every single person has their own road to walk, their own lessons to learn (like I’ve mentioned previously) and The Almighty God – whatever you call Him – has created everyone and therefore, He is for everyone. I don’t see myself as better than anyone else on this earth, whether they be Muslim or not. We’re just different and Islam commands that we respect the differences and that God is the Only and Ultimate Judge:
لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِيَ دِينِ
“To you be your Way, and to me mine” [”You will not believe in what I believe, I will not believe in what you believe, hence, your faith is with you and my faith is with me." Ergo, no force, no competition, no comparisons... you do what you think is good, I will do what I think is good. (Qur’an 109:1-6)]
As Muslims, we pray five times a day, to continually re-establish a connection with The Almighty. And every time we prostrate with our foreheads to the ground, we acknowledge a higher power who is the ultimate controller of destinies, lest we should be tempted to fear life.
There’s that ugly F word again...
Thing is, life is a struggle from beginning to end for everyone, and few things ever come easy. At the beginning of life we strain hard to stand upright without anybody holding onto us. At the end of life we’re back to the very same task. And in between, the struggles are laid end to end: raising kids, making a marriage work, finding our life’s work, taking care of those who need us, becoming faithful friends, finding the money to do what needs to be done... no matter who you are, we all have the same issues.
A lot of struggling is done right out there in plain view. But the real struggle is always inside us: the struggle with fear which is always there whispering in our ear, “Don’t get in too deep; you might lose or get hurt. Save your strength for later.”
The Almighty warns against doubt and fear and the evil that comes with our nafs and desires: “And if an evil whisper comes to you from Satan, then seek refuge with Allah” (Qur’an 7:200). Fear and doubt are Satan’s tools to misguide mankind.
At every fork in the road, fear tells us not to invest: in this moment, or in this person, or in whatever is at hand because there’s no guarantee we’ll win, no guarantee that our kids will be good, that our spouse will be faithful, or that our good work will bear fruit. “No guarantee,” whispers that evil little voice, “so stand back, sit on your hands. Better safe than sorry.”
Even in the Bible, God responds to that lying little voice with a warning: “Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:25)
The Qur’an tells us, "Nothing shall ever happen except what Allah has ordained for us. He is our Maula (Lord, Helper and Protector). And in Allah let the believers put their trust”(Qur’an 9:51).
God has given every one of us some very clear life assignments. They’re spelled out in our gifts and in the circumstances of our lives. Will we accept God’s assignments and do the important work he’s given us? Will we succeed in building our piece in His kingdom? Only if we invest everything we’ve got fearlessly - for the long term. However, sometimes we are our own worst enemies innit... our fears are just too great.
Is there any one of us who can’t identify with the unpredictability of life...we know the experience too well: we think an issue through, we do our homework, we plan carefully and act decisively, and still… nothing. The business still languishes, the spouse is still angry, the child still fails, and we grow ever more weary.
Perhaps we’ve been so caught up with our own interests and perceptions of things - OUR OWN AGENDA- that we haven’t seen what’s right in front of us. Perhaps we need a new perspective. Perhaps we need to have more faith and trust in our Creator, for God sees to the heart of things.
Let The Almighty show you what He sees. It’s the ultimate in truth. Then relax in your trust in Him. Let Him guide your hand. He will speak to you in his own silent way. And you will hear Him, if you have learned how to listen.
This is my message to myself today. Yeah... suck it up, take a deep breath and just jump straight in the deep end. I suppose it's a good thing that I already know how to swim.