Wednesday, 9 February 2011

A state of loss, and a choice...

It struck me the other day, as I was sitting in the car at one of the various sports class, at how man is generally in a state of inheriting or bequeathing, and never really owning. We inherit the Earth from those who lived before us, we inherit our language, culture, world, houses, jobs, money - most things were held by those before us. And as we hurtle around the star we know as 'Sun' we ultimately leave it all behind for others to inherit too. We own nothing. We chase shadows. As soon as we capture anything it is lost.

Jesus the Messiah (who is a Prophet of ours in Islam) said, "This world is a bridge, so pass over it and do not build your house upon it". We come from one place, and we are journeying, willingly or not, to another. The process in between is what we call 'life'. And in the function of living we are dying. A bridge is a tool to get from A to B, it is not a place to rest; you either stay in A or you goto B, but you do not build your house on the bridge. This life is not something to rest upon.

As I sat in the car last week watching, with a deep sadness in my gut, heart and soul about this reality of loss hitting home, watching people and families milling around me all I could see were people loosely connected, about to have their hearts filled with joy and then sorrow. People close who will be torn apart. People waiting to be hit by a bus, made mad with dementia or given a canker that rots them from the inside. And the people they love will come face to face with this state of loss. They will have to realise they dont own the relationship of love. They cannot be safe from time. And all we can do is gently try to hold onto joy for as long as we can, before the inevitable comes, like hands that try to grasp a drink of water to quench an insatiable thirst - if they clasp too hard the water is lost, all they can try to do is cup the water gently and sip quickly before the water trickles through the fingers back into the earth. Or it is like a swarm of flies - try to grab them to trap and capture them and they disperse all the more; but be quiet in their midst, be gentle and silent and be content to just observe, and you may entice them to settle for a while.

"(I swear) by Time, man is in a state of loss...." The Qur'an, Chapter Al-Asr

We are completely in a state of poverty. We are needy creatures who have no power to avert our neediness. We cannot undo the powers over us. We cannot create, all we can do, at best, is take what is already given in this universe and manipulate it into something beautiful; this is what mankind calls 'creating'. He cannot fathom time into existence, nor can he make an atom from nothing, he cannot undo what is past and he cannot escape what is to come. All we do is manipulate and try to weave something beautiful out of the strands we have been given.

Muhammad (Saw) was told "live how you want to live, and love what you want to love but you will leave it all behind". To be truly content we must love that which never dies, and be accepting of the rest. We are constanly in a state of loss.

The best amongst us are those who are awake to it and who prepare themselves for the inevitable. Those who pass over the bridge. We are like babes in the womb - we think this is all there is - how would you explain adulthood in this world to a fetus in the womb? How would you explain a rainbow? But the babe dies to the womb-world and is born into this. And we are the same, but we just don't realise it, or we deny it, or we run from it - from this world we die and we will be 'born' into another, whether we like it or not.

And I suppose there is a vast difference between living in denial and escaping from truth by distraction, and actually living with the burden of fact and choosing to be joyful regardless.

I was reminded of this yesterday when I read Erin's thoughts on 'choice', and although sometimes the sadness and grief can be overwhelming, and cut deep, and be hard to bear, in moments of reprieve we have to grasp at the handhold that never breaks to pull ourselves free from spiralling sadness and into a world of peaceful acceptance, and at the best of times, genuine joy.

So. Consciously choosing to see the rainbow instead of the rain, whilst still accepting the storm ahead, here is a post about 'choosing'. Those of you so inspired can join Erin on a year-long 'Year of Choice' ::

:: The Messy Kitchen




I have a disorganised, messy kitchen and the stove needs cleaned. But today I chose to enjoy having a whistling kettle that calls the babes in for a cup of tea...


:: It is seriously cold in our new room


But today I chose to be thankful for the cheap thermometer, the excitement the babes have in rushing to read it everyday, and for the ability to keep warm in other ways. Oh, and if I'm going to moan about the cold? I can now at least be accurate in my whining ...


:: Uninspiring...

I can't quite get my art table to look this inspirational, but today I choose to see the happiness my boys have with what they have...



:: Being Talentless

I feel totally inadequate in the face of so many artistic, creative, resourceful people in the world. Manda, for just about everything she turns her hand to, as well as her strength of character; Geninne, for *everything* she creates; Margaret in amazing beauty in minimal simplicity.

But today I was happy just to be able to have their beauty in my life, even if I can't recreate it myself.



:: General Mess

I was about to bemoan the constant state of aggravated burglary that threatens to engulf the house. Instead today I saw imaginary worlds, contented play, and beautiful colour. Even if it means I can't get the hoover round the sitting room...




It doesn't dull the pain of loss, or ease the ache of grief and worry, but being in a state of consciously chosen gratitude really does shift the universe up a notch.

What about you? What do you choose to be grateful for today?

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  1. This is an absolutely wonderful post. Your clarity and understanding in this moment are amazing and really paint a picture of our place/time on Earth. Beautiful - and I'm sure quite timely for many of us.

  2. Great post! I joined too. It's good to think about the choices we have each day, each moment.
    Nice kettle by the way ;-)

  3. :) yes, it sometimes is easier to take the negative path.

  4. Thank you so much for this post, I love its TRUTH, purity and authenticity and I miss posts like this in the "world of blogging"...
    and at least it is also a great reminder.
    barakallahu fiki.


  5. glad you like it. thought it might be too depressing ...

  6. this was a truly inspirational post. thank you.

  7., its simply the truth and happiness comes with accepting it, knowing this live is just a bridge and starting each day with gratitude and the right INTENTION, that's the choice we have every day...a great choice walking over the bridge through a better live inschaAllah...
    never compare your live, your skills/abilities with other, as Justine Mol states in "Growing up in Confidence" (German, about education without punishment and reward)...

    Man running behind his worldly desires that he may never get. Why?
    Man dreams of (illusions), from worldly things that will never come true. Why?
    Man searches for recognition and attention, the confirmation in his actions? Why?
    We walk, dream, searching things in this world to satisfy and confirm ourselves and confirm.

    So he has taken nothing from his life, except wishes, dreams, and perhaps the success.

    So what I want? But what is my wish?

    The worldly desire will never stop and the man will never have enough.
    The desire of Paradise is the highest. A "more" does not exist.

    I got that a few days ago by a friend of mine and translated it into English (irgs*..sorry my Englisch...)


  8. Thankyou Minara.

    True, alfarascha. this world can never satisfy us

  9. What a remarkable post. So true. Thank you for sharing this. We could all use the reminder.

  10. Loved this post Debbie, very well written. I love the year of choice concept, its so easy to get down about stuff when we really are so blessed.

    Thanks for the Sanderson 50s papers link, i saw them a few weeks ago and really wanted to like one of them, but i just cant get with them, not in this house. Im hoping a 30's or 40's range comes out somewhere soon, cant seem to find anything from that era. Dont supposed youve noticed any?
    Aqeela xx

  11. thankyou, Melissa.

    Aqeela not seen any 1940s repro prints. I think with the Sanderson the key to making them work would be a feature wall rather than a whole room? Might be overbearing otherwise.

    Or for actual vintage paper there's:

  12. I loved this post :)

    Brought back memories of being in my teens and realising that people are fragile and break so easily.

    btw love the kettle!

  13. poignant. may allah increase you in gratitude. i also find it hard to escape the realities of the next life, the judgement etc... without sometimes feeling despair, or that it all goes sooo quickly. i appreciate the visual reminder to focus on each moment in time

  14. If we are to be in this realm of tears at all, let's make it beautiful whilst we're here.

  15. Beautiful, beautiful post. A wonderful reminder at how fragile this life is and how perfection is not the goal.

  16. Thankyou, Marianna. I suppose every second should be seen a chance of making something beautiful, and so many of us daydream through life til we are forced to wake up in a painful way...

  17. Today my kids are teaching me to enjoy the process rather than relying on the end result. They seem to see the best bits as they go along.

  18. I like the title of your site very much and appreciate your perspective, thank you

  19. I'm not religious as such, but I completely agree with the sentiments expressed here. I spent a couple of years in constant terror because of the inevitability of death, but I finally realised that failing to accept life's finite nature was destroying all the wonder inherent in living. Working towards an acceptance of death is the only way to make the experience of living worth-while.

  20. Hi Vince, yes we have to give meaning to our life and learn to find the joy wherever we can, because the misery finds you soon enough. When my dad finally succumbed to his cancer it made me want to live rabidly even more because every second is a gift. Thanks for stopping by.

  21. Meant with a rabid passion, and not hydrophobic ;)


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