Friday, November 4, 2011

Feeling a Little Melon Collie




I am feeling down.

A lot of this has to do with not being healthy and having to keep waking up, going in, and working my hardest.  Alhumdulillah I have a week off now.  That's a real blessing in Egypt that we get time off for Muslim holidays.

It is The Day of Arafat tomorrow.  That marks is the last day of Hajj.  Millions of Muslims from all over the world are in Mecca right now pouring out their hearts and praying that God will renew their lives.  Anyone who is blessed with this mercy, gets their slates wiped as clean as when they were a baby

...or when they took shahaddah.  That saddens me a bit.  Because I had that clean moment in my life.  Twice!  It was precious and I wasn't able to hang on to it.  In many ways, I was led astray.

Fasting usually helps me when I'm feeling disconnected to goodness.  However, this sickness has made it impossible to fast.  I had a cold for one week and now this has been another week with a sore throat; it closes up if I don't drink. I found that dates helped me more than Halls cough lozenges, Subhanallah.

I actually lost my voice for a few days---which is the one thing a teacher can't lose!  Thank God that I work on lots of non-verbal commands from the beginning of the year (it made our farm field trip doable).  Maybe my inability to communicate lately is why I want to write today.  I wish, however, that I could have been able to fast this week; maybe I still can on The Day of Arafat because that helps me get in touch with The Source.

And the next days will have the slaughtering inshahallah.  This is a hard thought for me this year.  We've had a little white goat since she was a baby and she will be leaving us inshahallah.  Snow White is this beautiful creature who trusts my hand.  We've been feeding her scraps from our kitchen for the last year and a half.  She is the one who came to visit my kindergartners.  She is a kind of friend for me.  I wish we could keep her as a pet but there's no such idea here.  No, Yosra, you can't keep a goat on the roof as a perpetual pet.  She...it...gets slaughtered tomorrow. 

Antd I think of the temporal nature of life.  It's another Hajj and another Eid.  It's another year for me in Egypt.  There is a new feeling settling into me that I'm here.  I'm not new here.  I'm really here.  I'm here even when both my children appeared in plays back in The States.  I missed their plays the way my father missed mine. 

My father.  I am not hearing from my father like I used to.  His Alzheimers must be taking over a new area in his brain.  He is not emailing me and asking me "Where are you?" Now he doesn't think of me.  Soon, there will be the time which he doesn't remember me at all. 

There are so many casual referrences to Alzheimers because people like to joke about forgetting and blaming it on having Alzheimers.  It's funny to them.  It's not funny to me.  My father is slowly shutting down from me in a kind of mental death.  One of our family members had heart surgery yesterday (God bless him, his wife and children during this time) and I reassured others by telling them that my father had that same surgery and was fine.  Except, he really isn't fine.  He's loosing his mind which used to be this really inspiring gift from God.

I think about my gifts from God.  I think of my ability to teach.  The first quarter is done.  I am so tired from that hard start.  Every year is going to be the same challenge because it's the nature of kindergarten.  This year, I faced more drama than I'd bargained for.  My assistant was in a car accident two days before school started.  I had to arrange for alternative help.  The class includes some very time consuming kids and I've really had to tap into my reserves to find the strength, understanding and patience.

Also, I think of the number of assistants I have had over these years.  It's tiring.  It's tiring to be the first or second boss these young ladies have.  They are so inexperienced.  I remember being their age.  Actually, at this point, I'm old enough to be their mom.  Yet, I am their boss and I need to help them find their potential as much as any of the students.  It's also somewhat thankless, because of the nature of the assistant job, our little classroom is only a stepping stone into something bigger and better.  The one assistant who wanted to stay was not asked back.  That was due to the classism in Egypt where school degrees and social standing mean more than commmitment to teamwork. 

Commitment.  I've got one other thing which has me feeling unsettled in my heart.  I made a commitment years ago to Mr. Boo's father's family.  I promised that I would always do my best to keep my son close to them.  This has been very hard after remarriage.  My husband needed almost two years before he trusts my resolve to move forward with my life and not backwards.  I have shed so many tears wishing that my son could make the three hour journey to see his grandma.  Every time he is able to get cuddles with the grandma in this house, of course I think it's great but I feel sad that there's another woman who is missing out.

My plan, this Eid break, is to go to see her.  Islamically, my husband can prevent me.  He can't prevent anything which relates to my son (since my son isn't his son) but my son needs me to facilitate the meeting.  It's hard.  I've presented my plan for next week.  He's thinking about it.  I'm praying about it.

I'm praying about a lot of things. 

I pray that all the Muslims in the world take a moment today to find a kind of renewal.  It's time to do what we can (even without Hajj) to admit the things which we are doing which hurt others and get in touch with the things others are doing which hurt us.  We can ask God to forgive us and to forgive others.  We can find some kind of new day dawn inside us.

We can.

1 comment:

MarieHarmony said...

Very nice post Yosra. I hope you will feel better soon.
I imagine living for from some of the ones you love is hard but you are doing your best.

Really like the last part of it - powerful.

May you and your family have a Happy Eid and Days to pause and reflect.
Take care