Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The 10%

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more importan than facts.  It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company... a [house of worship]... a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.  And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.”
Rev. Charles R. Swindoll

That wonderful quote from the Rev. Swindoll  is often quoted and often forgotten.  We know it but we don't live it.  Of course, even the best of us have the worst days but we can decide how we want our center to be. 

My mother is fond of reminding me of another 10%.  "If you are in a disagreement," she cautions, "and the other person is very wrong, still look at the ten percent to which you can own up.  What have you done to contribute to the problem?  It's very seldom that the other person is 100% wrong  If you can give that little bit then it frees the way to an agreement; a solution."

I'll add one more; it's something I've learned.  As we end personal relationships, business partnerships,  or work affliations, we need to stop and be thankful.  Even if things are ending badly, i.e., divorce, acrimony or getting fired or quitting under diress, we need to find our gratitude.  Find the 10% good which will remain with you despite moving on. 

When I knew that I would not COULD NOT remain with my son's father, I got quiet.  The yelling was all done.  I couldn't shake him from his determination to remarry his ex-wife after three divorces---ya, don't tell me...I know it's haram unless...let's not get into it.

Anyway, it was about as painful a situation as I've ever had to go through and I was pent up with emotions which were hurting me.  I prayed and prayed to find a release of my upset.  In the end, I knew I had to thank him.  Yes, what he was doing by running off and leaving us was horrible but it wasn't 100% horrible.

There was the truth of the goodness he had brought to my life.  He had given me more, actually, than any other person on the Earth.  He had helped me to find Islam, alhumdulillah.  He had given me a beautiful boy.  And he had given me love.  I can't say he didn't.  He did.

Today, as I handed in my letter asking to be reassigned within our school, I could have heaped blame upon the lady who has wronged me.  I could have but I didn't.  Instead, I took the opportunity to thank her for finding something special in me two years ago and helping me to get to Egypt.  I can't ignore that really key moment in my life when God really worked through her.

Who do you carry around with you?  There's someone you thought had a hold on you but in reality you have been gripping them tight and YOU won't let go.  Let them go; let go gently of things which no longer serve you before they are ripped from you forcefully.  The way to let them go is to thank them.

Do you thank them in actuality or silently in your head?  It depends.  Only thank them to their face if you can handle whatever they might say back in return.  Don't thank them hoping to get a kind answer back.

I did thank my son's father over the phone that day.  It was years ago now but I still remember driving along the freeway and telling him on my cell the things from him for which I was grateful.  Then, I asked him if he wanted to thank me for anything.

He said, "Ya, sex."

It hit me as hard as if a mack truck had rear-ended us.  Really?  Did he really take a kindness from me and turn it into rudeness?  Yet, I needed to hear that.  Alhumdulillah, I needed to hear his crass response in order to let him go fully.

Later, I think I did revisit that conversation with him and I gave him one more chance to make good something which he had made so gross.  I remember that he thanked me for our son, for our business, and for loving him.  He didn't thank me for an increase in his faith.  I guess by then his iman was no longer high. 

Alhumdulillah for the 10% which is in our control.  Make the most of it


Mai to the Extreme said...

As salaamu alaykum Yosra.

Jazaaki Allahu khayran. I loved this post, mashaa'Allah.

We who have lived life a little can certainly look back on many things and see the good. For everything that comes along, regardless of it's level of difficulty to handle, I say, "It's all good." When you seek out the good in everything, you get from it what Allah meant for you...and He takes you to higher and higher levels of understanding, patience, emaan, and taqwa.

Barak Allahu feeki wa fee hayaatiki.

Yosra said...

Wa Alaykom Asalam Mai,

I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Yes, we are older and inshahallah wiser. We have got to see the good or else we'll be falling down in deluded depression.

"It's all good!" was what one female contest on Survivor used to say. It was the year with Johnny Fairplay. Can't remember if she won but she was already a winner by keeping the faith :)

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Polly,

I read your question and your request not to publish it. I'm not sure why you are not interested in having your question (and the one before it)published. Part of the beauty of a blog is the sharing of thoughts.

If you aren't interested in having your thoughts shared with others, then I'm going to ask you not to keep writing privately to me. My goal is to have a feeling of community in the comment section. I hope you can understand that.

Thanks :)