I am in the process of moving house, going through everything in my apartment and deciding what will and won’t go with me, and sorting through boxes in my attic and cellar, some of which I have not unpacked since I moved in seven years ago.
Not surprisingly, I am coming across many things that do not fit into my new life as a Muslim and I have to decide what to do with them.
Some things are obvious, like my cellar full of wine. To be honest I had almost forgotten about it as I have not been down there in nearly a year, since before I said my shahada. And while some of the bottles of wine are closely associated with memories of friends, trips and special occasions, the decision to get rid of it all is an easy one.
Then there are things I am not so certain about, like some of my wall hangings that depict the human form. There is nothing indecent about the art and I certainly do not view any of it as items of worship, simply an aesthetic that to me is still beautiful. I will keep these for now.
And then there is the big box of what I call “Santa barf”, that is Christmas ornaments, decorations and keepsakes.
Though I converted to Islam less than a year ago, I was never one to celebrate Christmas once I moved out of my parents’ home. The exception being when I visited my family at the holidays, and I viewed it as a family and cultural tradition, not a religious one. I love spending Christmas with my family, but I have also spent many a December 25 not celebrating Christmas without a second thought.
The box I mention is filled with items given to me by family and friends in the spirit of trying to put me in the spirit – beautifully painted glass ornaments and hand-made decorations.
Much to my surprise, I find myself filled with emotion. This box represents what I have left behind. It reminds me that even if I do spend December 25th with my family, I am separated from all of this now.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that I have gained so much more with Islam. Never-the-less, despite the fact I was never sentimental about the holiday, I feel its loss looking at this box of keepsakes. So today, I am taking the time to mourn Christmas. (And I decided to get rid of all the Santa barf except the Christmas ornaments made by my nieces. These transcend the holiday.)