I woke up, to a cacophony of fireworks exploding outside my bedroom window. I struggled out of bed, relief setting in as I got to my feet: the worst was over. In the stuffy bathroom, I stood holding on to the sink for support, fighting back the tears. No matter how much I tried to block it out, I reached an epiphany: then, and every year thereafter at this witching hour: and back then, in my apartment in Karachi, I felt abandoned, alone, hopeless! Though I was providing for myself, I was living out of a suitcase, on the other side of the world, no relationship, no future plans, almost entirely estranged from my family, and even though I could list the events in chronological order, my heart couldn’t reason out how it had all come to this.
That was then, that was Karachi, in December 2003. It feels so odd even to write these lines, and thinking about them makes me smile because of their surreal nature!! So much has happened since then, both good and bad, yet my feelings about New Year haven’t changed much, I still dislike it! but if I reflect on my negativity at the turn of every year, its always the same, always ungrateful, always in the negative, and no matter how many good things might be going on, you can bet I’ll find something to be sad about!! This year, I expected to have a field day: after all, almost every thing in my world is up in the air isn’t it? well forget it!! I’m not going there: what good would it do any way!! to put things in perspective, I’ve decided to write 10 bad things, and 10 fantastic things that happened this year: and that …, quite simply, will be that!! If you share my fear and procrastination when it comes to the 2011 move, even though its just a day, and even though Islamicly it shouldn’t matter to us any way! maybe you’d like to do the same, as a polite, yet assertive counter to all that negativity, as well as a fiery warning to shaytan, to just ‘get lost!!
OK: bad first: just to get them out of the way!!
1. Loss of job, (Of course!).
2. 2. Inability to secure more work!.
3. 3. Way too many rejection letters!
4. 4. Separation from Reza.
5. 5. Serious and sometimes dangerous, financial hardship!
6. 6. Way too much depression.
7. 7. Excess negativity which lead to unrealised aspirations.
8. 8. Illness: my own, and that of others close to me.
9. 9. Way too many days, months: weeks! Wasted.
10. 10. Not yet rid of negative people from the past, who just shouldn’t be around me!
OK!! Now to the good stuff!
1. More time to reflect, meditate and spend on ibadat as a result of not working.
2. 2. Muharram this year without travel, work, etc.
3. 3. Enhanced understanding of the real value of life: i.e., the things money will never buy.
4. 4. Time to do things for the sake of good, without agenda.
5. 5. Marrying my wonderful husband.
6. 6. Travelling to Iran, and Azerbaijan, against all odds.
7. 7. Performing Ziyerat.
8. 8. Being able to give sadqa, (all be it only a little), in spite of financial struggles.
9. 9. My new family, gained through Reza.
10. 10. New Friends who mean so much: (Afshaan, and Mariam in particular if you guys are reading).
Interestingly, while writing this, I realised I could have gone on and on with the positive list, and that’s how it should be. To all my readers, wherever you are, the future will be what you choose to make it. If things are dark right now, Allah (SWT) is testing you, and thank Allah that he is: surely its better you go through these tests now, when there is still a chance to rectify your state? And surely its better that Allah (SWT) is aware of you, noticing you, rather than letting you fall around blindly with an inflated sense of ego or imagined success? And if things are good for you, thank Allah (SWT) that they are, that you can smile, that you are happy, and that you have been blessed, you only have to turn on the TV to see billions who are not, who struggle for just a mouthful of clean, fresh and safe water. 2011 might be good, it may even be worse than what has gone before: but do not be afraid, no matter how bleak things may be, you’ll still find plenty to be thankful for, and if we learn to place the positives first, we will indeed be fortunate.
My duas are with you all, May this new faze, this new Year bring you all the good you wish for yourself, and may it be a time of rebirth, of renewed strength, faith, hope, worship and resolve for all of us, aameen.