“Today has been a very long and very good day, Alhamdulillah!”
That was part of my good night message to a friend. No details about the day, rather just my reflections of it. It struck me as I wrote it that we judge things by the end, the outcome, the finale. The same way we would judge a book or movie – the end is the make or break of it. I don’t think I consciously thought that we do this to life as well. Why am I mentioning this? Because of how my day went.
I knew it was going to be a busy one, but I didn’t realise just quite how busy. Of all the days of extensive physical activity, today was the day my body decided to host cramps, a backache, and a slight feeling of nausea. What was I to do? Ignore it and keep going, that’s what! And it’s amazing how that worked! Sometimes, it’s all just in your head..
I was working my hands as fast as I could, trying to finish as many in as short a time as possible, all the while wishing I was an octopus so I could accomplish more things at once, and wondering why I take up so many commitments because I had to leave home in a bit to fulfill a few of those commitments, yet all I wanted was to finish the task at hand.
What’s all the fuss about this task at hand anyway?
Wellll, it’s something I called on myself. You see, lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about social productivity and the rights neighbors have on us, and how we should be good neighbors, etc. and honestly, I’m a really crappy one. We’ve been living in the same building for the past 19 years and I barely know anyone..!
So I wanted to change that. Inspired by an article I read on how someone gave their neighbors Ramadan baskets, I wanted to try it out myself. So the whole morning was spent in making individual eatables that had to fill the containers.
So that was the not so fun part because it was a LOT of work. But I listened to Nouman Ali Khan’s tafseer on Surah Fatiha – I love his tafseer only because of all the grammar influence in it! – and I listened to seerah, as well as the recitation of some of my favorite surahs that took me straight back to class and their in-depth translation! So it’s not like I had an unproductive morning..! But of all the days, yes, today was the day all my body wanted to do was sit down and relax. Which made me wonder what possessed me to take on a task of such proportions.
I was pretty nervous about the actual distribution itself because it’s something I have never done before. And all the times I remember knocking on neighbor’s doors during my school days came with a feeling that it was unwelcome (probably because we wanted them to buy a ticket or something to that effect). I anticipated being turned away, but my fear wasn’t as great as it would have been normally. Or I should say ‘as it would have been before’. There is something about the Qur’an that makes people’s opinions fade into the darkness, and your intention of doing it only for Allah stand out very clear.
And when that happens, Allah truly gives ease.
My cousins happened to be visiting – this was unusual because it was a weekday and they normally drop by on the weekends – and they volunteered to come help me distribute. Let me tell you that giving random people things that they seem very skeptical about instantly gets easier when you have two cute faces by your sides!
There was one person who opened the door, saw me, and shut it and locked it. A couple more refused to take it. The majority though was very pleasantly surprising. I discovered neighbors I had no idea existed, and they seemed pretty surprised that we lived in the same building; I had people who thanked me profusely and wished me a good Ramadan as well; I had people who looked thoroughly confused by the gesture and I don’t think they knew what I was talking about! There were yet others who appreciated the courtesy tremendously, and woke up to the realization that we all don’t know our neighbors as well as we should; and I even had someone take my number so that we could keep in touch!
So that was the end of my day, which explains my reflections in my good night message. It was unexpected, and I hope that Allah accepts these small efforts from everyone who was involved – my mother being my greatest support – and that this be the beginning of a better relationship in the future bi idhnillah.
I write this only as a reminder to my future self: that if there is ever a situation that I’m afraid of, that I don’t think I can do in a million years, to recall that I CAN put my fears aside and take the leap. If I’ve done it once before, I can definitely do it again.
And if I can do it, so can anyone else.