While driving in my car last night, it hit me. After so many years of struggling and striving, there is much to be thankful for, and may God be praised for it. And yet, I can see so clearly all the failures, all the wounds, all the mistakes, all the trauma. If you looked at my body, you would not notice any major signs of trauma (except, perhaps, the signs of poor eating habits). But if you could look at my heart, you would see the scars of battle.
I was thrown into this world, and I was not always given milk to drink; oftentimes, I chose the wine. While sometimes my feet found peace in the cool earth, more often they were sore from days on concrete. Almost every day, the words of a song run through my head – “this world stains us with demands.” After 30 years, how many stains have become fixed, how many bandages have yet to be removed.
I am a triage patient – even though the deen got me young (19 going on 20), many of the wounds have still not healed, and I often feel exhausted just trying to keep new wounds from opening up. But thank God for the medicine. Thank God no one came along and just gave me morphine to dull the pain, as I slowly slipped away towards death in ignorant bliss.
This broken and battered and beaten and bruised and briar-ridden thorn patch of my heart (another song lyric) is me. I cannot run away from it. I can forget about it for awhile, which is a mercy, but it always comes back, reminding me of who I truly am inside.
While I still have a little fight left in me, do I stand up before the crushing desolation of forgetfulness encapsulated in the steel and glass monstrosities that tower over me? Do I defiantly call the bluff of those who say that the heart can never be truly sound, or do I listen to the words of my Lord who says, “except the one who brings to God a sound heart.” (Qur’an, 22.89). Why would the One who knows me better than myself call me to something that I cannot achieve?
No. I refuse to go down without a fight. I refuse to believe that my heart cannot thrive and flourish and overcome its past trauma. I accept that many times I have wronged myself, but I also do not remove blame from a world built upon so much greed, selfishness, backstabbing, alienation, and destruction. I seek refuge in my Lord from a world which wants me to accept who I have become, who I am. Rather, I ask this day, as always, to be guided to the path of those upon whom God has shown favor.
As I stand and begin to walk, I pick my way through the shattered remains of humanity scattered across Dar Umum al-Balwa (The Abode of Mass Affliction). Dear God, illuminate my path, make my steps firm and true, let me be of help to others along the way, protect me from my enemies, heal me as I walk, and carry me safely home.