Ramadan Reflections

Ramadan Reflections

(In all honesty, this may be more rambly than most of my write, which can be pretty rambly by default, so that’s saying something…)

It’s almost the end of Ramadan. In many ways, this past month has been one of the most unique times in my personal life as well as on the world stage. The world is wrought with anguish at the genocide that’s happening right now by the Zionist European settler-colonial state of Israel against the Palestinian people. In many ways, this has been the focal point for Muslims around the world, as nary a talk, event, khutbah (sermon), fundraiser, or even social media posting can go by without mentioning what’s happening in the Holy Land.

That said, on a more personal note, this Ramadan has been a struggle as well, but not because of difficult fasting. Rather, on the personal level, I have found myself struggling to balance the various aspects of my life. What I’ve come to realize is that this may be due to the fact that I am in a major state of transition in my own life. While I will spare you all the details here publicly, my family is preparing for a big move and most of the heavy lifting (literally and metaphorically) has been happening during this month of Ramadan. What I’ve found in myself during these times, upon reflection, is that, even as I have eclipsed (haha, if you know, you know) 43 years of life, I am discovering more-and-more about myself, and not all of it is roses.

On top of the natural changes that happen as you get older (things just don’t work the way they used to, you can’t do the same things as when you were younger, etc.), I am also finding out that what I used to think were positive traits of my own personal character were, rather, just blank spaces of experience where I hadn’t really gone through any hardships or tests. In other words, to put it simply, I thought I was a “good person” because I was able to maintain a good attitude when life was seemingly on “easy mode”. In fact, I can’t even say that life has gotten harder, but rather, my own veneer of good attitude has been peeling away. I cannot maintain the same happy-go-lucky attitude of blissful ignorance I once had when I was younger, and I am struggling with adapting to this new norm.

The ugliness I’ve seen, and become aware of, in life, over the past decade or so, and not a small part of it the enormous hypocrisy and disregard by the Western world for the well-being or even humanity of the people of Palestine, has taken a huge mental toll on me. And I will readily admit that I have not been perfect about not allowing that to affect other parts of my life. It is in this weakness and failure that I have been the most disappointed in myself.

But, I will say that I am grateful to at least recognize it. I believe that, among other things, I have tended towards being self-aware enough to know when I am doing something wrong or when I am going through something that affects how I behave, and I usually can recognize when I’ve done something wrong, if not before I do, at least after. It gives me a chance to at least apologize and/or make amends. I generally am comfortable with admitting when I’ve made a mistake, even to my wife and kids, and I believe this is a great virtue to have. I’m not saying I get it right all the time, but I know too that I am not oblivious to it.

I say all of this to highlight that I’ve also recognized that my character and manners are not where I thought they used to be. Having said that, I believe that this also means it’s a great time for the transition that my family & I are working on. We’ve lived where we live now for close to 10 years, and we’ve experienced a lot of good, and some bad, but the good has been overwhelmingly more than the bad, for sure. But, we also recognize that, well, part of our dissatisfaction may be due to the fact that it’s time to move on.

I traveled with my wife in March to another city, and what I experienced there was something that hearkened back to an era I remember fondly. I felt that warmth and glow that I once did when I was younger, and that’s what woke me up to the idea that, maybe that youthful energy, optimism, and drive are still there, and, in fact, have less to do with youth and more to do with finding the context in which it can thrive. I found acts of worship there easier, connecting with people easier, and even the experience with my wife was full of so many positives, it felt like a second honeymoon, alhamdulillaah.

I have a lot more to say, but I already feel I’m so far off any clear topic that I’ll wrap it up here, but I will say that, for me, I believe I am at point in my life where transitioning to a new location can offer me a much-needed reset so that I can recalibrate and come back into a mode of service and Islamic work that I’ve not felt for a long time.

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