It is about adaptability.
Though our to-do lists and routines do help us in some ways: they provide for us at least some mental clarity, the alleviation of at least some uncertainties [What to do now? And what to do next?] …
We have come to learn that life is very much about adaptability. There is no rigid manual that tells us what to do in every moment; there are no guarantees about what any coming moment shall bring with it.
There is this rainfall. There are those unexpected happenings; those people you happen to come by, cross paths with, even briefly.
There are each of these days of ours. And yes, though some of our lines are straighter than some of our other ones, there are all of these twists and these turns within our lives that we shall necessarily encounter. Inevitable. You do not get to build your steadfast castles here, and time is made to ceaselessly move on.
What if I told you that the stuff of this first life of ours is essentially cluttered and cumbersome? Things change; get swept away with little gusts of wind. You attempt to simplify, simplify, and all the while: new dilemmas, problems, struggles, are made to arise.
Sand-like, these worldly attempts at permanence, constancy, faultlessness, immortality, power over our own selves. We find we are fundamentally mistaken. And that we must learnt to focus on those things that are a little more substantial (i.e. what our souls are earning,) instead. Bring it all back to Truth, to what we know, at least five times a day: only these things (and one day we will come to know this) are made of materials that are truly fulfilling, for us: that last.
First life, to last. Journey and destination.
I think, at times, I have tried to control things a little too much. ‘Write things down’, make lists, neaten certain things up, plan and idealise. But then: global pandemics happen, sometimes, or I did not manage, for this reason or the other, to catch a good night’s sleep that night, so now this morning is being spent in a hurry… I plan, but I find I do not know much at all. I am only a visitor, here. Temporary, and a traveller.
There are, interspersed throughout our days, little obstacles, as well as little opportunities. Things that sort of stay the same; things that change and change and change. We are not in control, here. Not sufficient in and of and for ourselves. It is Ar-Razzaq who is our Sustainer, our Ultimate Provider.
So how ought we to learn to live, here? We must accept the reality of Dunya: the reality that we already, deep down, know. Glass half full, and half empty. And we must learn to ‘flow’, and move with it all. Pick up the good, know the bad. Seek the Khayr in it all – all of it – somehow. It is always there.
We fall, and we get up. And we make these plans, but they are penned in impermanent inks, through fundamentally unknowing nibs. Erase that, scrap that, try again. Look at the resources we have access to; try to, in a way centred on ‘rugged charm’, make do, carry on. Make it beautiful. We live, experience, we get through. Adaptability, we find, is already a key element of our human constitutions.
Witness the flurries of our days, and sit amid those moments of calm. Meet new situations in life – unforeseeable ones – and adapt to them. Take life as it comes: our plans and such are only rough outlines. Drawings in sand – somewhat useful – as opposed to carvings in stone.
What is Dunya, but dirt — first within our skin, and then beneath our feet. And then we are buried in it; we stay there for a while.
While we have the ability to, we must return to Allah, over and over again: however many tries it takes to really feel like we are there. Make all these choices; choose to walk this way, or that. Here, we are campers. Our main concerns ought to be survival: ‘enough’, materially, and as much as we can, spiritually. Look up at the sky for reminders; remember Time, from time to time, and we come to locate Earthly peace and home, right here,
Sadia Ahmed J., 2020