I guess this is about to turn into the real self-reflective post I intended to write a month back (instead of this one). With the rain pouring outside, the cars zipping by my house at speeds slightly higher than 25 m.p.h. so you can hear the water splash beneath the tires, and a bunch of people I know heading out on overseas journeys…I’m in the mood.
At the end of the summer last year (I say “last year” since it’s, you know, 2013 now), I told my sister I have a lot to improve about myself. There’s an entirely other level I need to reach and master before I can even begin thinking about the life I’m supposed to live in the future. She told me that I wouldn’t be able to do it, not in the way I was planning to–independently. (I should clarify though, she didn’t tell me that in a discouraging, mean, or “I’m your older sister, so I’m right” way at all. Her tone of voice was completely concerned for my well-being, and she was speaking from experience, I guess.) I wasn’t talking to her about intellectual development or maturity–though those long journeys await me as well–but spirituality. I needed to discipline myself, and I knew I would be able to achieve my goals. My sister saying I wouldn’t be able to was supposed to be my motivation.
Five months later, I’ve gone backward. It’s not fun going backward. It’s easy, sure, but it isn’t fun.
Don’t get me wrong though–like, it seems it’ll be fun at the time. To be lazy, sleep in until afternoon, watch funny YouTube videos, television, and movies all day. Eat. Text. Twitter. Internet, in general. It’s all fun in the wonderful sit-at-home-on-your-behind-and-do-nothing kind of way.
It’s fun until bedtime, which ranges between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m., give or take a few minutes.
What the heck did I do today? Oh yeah, nothing.
Where I was spiritually at the end of Ramadan, my God, that place…that person…
I remember listening to a lecture, probably in the summer. The speaker said we have fluctuations in our faith. People often call it an “iman rush,” like an adrenalin rush for your faith that you’ll get after attending a religious seminar with your friends or hearing the occasional really great Friday sermon that lifts you up and inspires you to implement that great habit you’ve been meaning to implement for the past three years.
That rush doesn’t last though; it will die down, and that’s normal.
What the speaker advised is: don’t let your iman die down so much that you’ll go back to zero. If you’re at zero and the rush takes you to 30, maybe you’ll drop back to 10–but not zero. Don’t let it be zero.
Or, if you started at 30 and the rush boosts you to 70, don’t drop back to 30 or below. Try to maintain 40. We will fall–but it’s so important not to fall further than where we were to begin with. So with a rush every now and then, we can slowly become better.
Unfortunately, I feel like I’ve fallen pretty far–I’ve maintained close to nothing and haven’t felt a rush that I can remember since like Eid al-Fitr. And that’s completely my fault.
This post is more of a reminder to myself than anyone else to do worthwhile things with your time. TIME. Ugh, I read Surah al-’Asr pretty much in every prayer, and it still doesn’t go through my thick skull. It’s SO sad.
“By time. Indeed, mankind is in loss. Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.” [Qur'an 103: 1-3]
I seriously have all the time in the world to restart those good habits I experimented with in the summer. I have all the time to memorize Qur’an, write blog posts, and fill out applications. What I don’t have is an excuse as to why I allowed my potentially good habits to escape me before they even became habitual.
I’m not saying, “I have no excuse,” and mean I do have an excuse that’s bad and pathetic. I mean I really have no excuse.
I don’t want my sister to be right about me. She’s been right about a lot of other things over the years, which has been a tremendous help in my life. But what she told me at the end of summer has proved true for the past five or so months too, and that stinks. I didn’t want to accept her words then, and I don’t want to accept them now.
I really hope she’s wrong.