Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ramadan 24: Faith Not Fear

My head hurts.
I stayed in sujud so long last night that I think I might get some of those forehead bruises you see on really prayerful men.

But, alhumdulillah, I'd rather have my head hurt that way---from the outside in, than from the inside out.

It used to be that I really worried, planned and over planned, and got anxious over the twists and turns of life. As if any of that stopped the course of time! The challenges kept coming and since I was determined to think that I had control over them, and therefore kept failing in my efforts, I did turn to other things to stop my head from hurting.

I've turned to my friends too much, instead of God. Asked them too much, "What do you think?"

I've turned to food too much. Thank you, Extra Weight, for reminding me of this.

I've turned to mind-numbing television and soul-stealing music.

Last night, the first of three possible Layla tul Qadr nights, I turned to Allah.

As George Michael sang, "You gotta have faith."

In this moment, I do feel God's grace. I do see that the unfolding of life is taking place and to fight it is futile. It will all happen effortlessly. Panic solves nothing. What I don't know now I'm not supposed to know.

A big thought for me these days is how the Quran was given to us through Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) in parts. Allah could really have given the whole book at once. Why didn't he?
I don't think we could have handled it. There are so much mind-blowing assertions; so many ideas and concepts. For society back then, there were so many changes.

I always remind new Muslims that it is baby step-by-baby step into Islam. That's another way of saying, "unfolding," isn't it? A woman new to Islam shouldn't be expected to throw away all her old clothes and buy new. A man new to Islam shouldn't be expected to grow a beard and start wearing a thobe. The most important step should be taken first, and that's the shahaddah. Everything after that will come in due course.
Prayer helps us to remember that God loves us so much that He protects us and our feelings. The answer that hasn't come yet, might just be delayed so we come to better terms with the outcome.

And in the meantime, I'll have faith.


I've been looking for just the right photo to put with this posting.
Remember how my opening line was, "My head hurts," and how I ended with, "I'll have faith,"? Read what I just found. Subhanallah. The site might be upsetting to pregnant mothers or those who are easily troubled.

I'm not finding a picture yet, but I do find this idea fascinating.

OK, found the picture, but already knew that!
Mishmaool! Unbelievable! I found this inspirational message in my Hazelden book. It speaks so much to what I just wrote about:
"Patience is a quality that frequently eludes us. We want what we want when we want it. Fortunately, we don't get it until the time is right, but the waiting convinces us that our prayers aren't heard. We must believe that the answer always comes in its own special time and place. The frustration is that our timetable is seldom like God's.
When we look back over the past few weeks, months, or years, we can recall past prayers. Had they all been answered at the time of request, how different our lives would be. We are each on a path unique to us, offering special lessons to be learned. Just as a child must crawl before walking, so must we move slowly, taking the steps in our growth in sequence.
Our prayers will be answered, sometime, somewhere. Of that we can be sure. They will be answered for our greater good. And they will be answered at the right time, the right place, in the right way.
I am participating in a much bigger picture than the one in my individual prayers. And the big picture is being carefully orchestrated. I will trust the part I have been chose to play. And I can be patient."
You know what's really amazing? Ya, it's very cool that I found this and that is amazing, but this is doubling that and then some. I was supposed to look on the 24th of September for today, right? Somehow, I was actually looking on the 24th of March. How did I goof that up?! I typed this all out from the book, then it didn't save (drat!) so I had to type it again. When I went to look for it, it WASN'T THERE! I searched and searched until I found it in the messages for March. Subhanallah! Whatever day it said at the top of the page, I believe I was supposed to read it today!

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