Buyer’s Remorse

Salam sisters and brothers.

It has been a while since I have written. I have to say my move and new job have been more challenging than I anticipated. I have been really questioning whether this was the right decision, and thinking maybe my adventure abroad should come to an end – and I should just chuck it all and move back to California.

Part of it is just the logistics of the move and part is due to a difficult start in the new job. But it is more than that. I just don’t know what I am doing here or where I am headed. I have been feeling quite lost.

However, it is exactly times like these when I have to have even more faith and know that I just have to be patient, right?

A friend mentioned that part of my feeling – in addition to the normal challenge of an international move – may in part be due to the fact that I moved here to shift my priorities from my work life to my personal life, and my feeling of being lost is that I have ramped down work but still have to seek or find the focus of my personal life.

And a women I met recently reminded me that in life, as a Muslim, it is not about being rewarded or punished for what you have done in this world, but that when something good happens we must be grateful, and if something bad happens or something is difficult, it is a test and we must be patient. We must remember that we cannot see the greater context of things and Allah (swt) knows and sees what is best.

So, I am not entirely sure how to continue building my new life here. I have been visiting Mosques and I am taking a class to learn to read and recite the Quran. And there is a person here who has been an incredible anchor for me and whom I hope will become an even bigger part of my life.

I think perhaps I need to be patient with myself and the journey,  and stay committed to the reasons I moved here.

My biggest challenge and my biggest area of growth as a Muslim since day one has been sabr.

How do you stay patient through challenging times?

The bumpy road to the straight path

Not one of us goes through life without times of challenge. It is a commonality for which we can all be certain.

Though I realize in the big scheme of things I am quite lucky, three years ago I hit a particularly bumpy time. I was betrayed by someone in way that can only be described as ‘truth is stranger than fiction’. As part of this betrayal, I found out I had unwittingly participated in something I viewed as unconscionable. I was devastated.

But I kept telling myself there had to be a reason for all of this. I knew there was something I clearly needed to learn and this was part of my path.

Just two months later, I experienced an even worse blow to my life when my sister, with whom I had been estranged for more than 20 years, died before we could reconcile. I was numb.

Then lots of small things happened: financial troubles, friends moving away — all of which brought me lower. I delved into anger and isolation, and behaviors and relationships for which I am not proud.

Two things kept me going: that voice in the back of my head saying there was a bigger picture here and I just could not see it yet, and the fact that I was moving my professional life in a calmer direction in the hopes that I could re-build my personal life. I had found the perfect job that maintained my standard of living but moved me off the ‘fast track’.

Then, just a few months later this was taken away. I still had a job but I was transferred back to a high pressure position. Certainly I had the choice not to take the position and leave, but due to a variety of circumstances I chose to stay.

Though it was my decision to stay, I was resentful. And not just of the job. I was angry with God. I felt like I had lost everything in my personal life, my family was still reeling from the death of my sister and after years of trying to down shift my career, I was right back where I started. I felt… completely broken.

I also realized that many of the circumstances in my life were in large part a result of my own choices and actions. So I decided that as a starting point to try to move things in the right direction, I was going to dig in to the job I had agreed to take on and do it to the best of my ability, hoping it would lead me to something better. I did not know why or how it would lead me to something better, I just knew I needed to do something…anything.

During this time as a result of this job that I had not wanted, there was a person I came to know who had this amazing core of strength, and I don’t mean the kind you can get with Pilates. I wanted to understand the source of this strength and how I could get it, so I began asking questions.

Low and behold…..this is how I was introduced to Islam.

In the beginning, I just found it interesting. I have always been interested in religion – its history and philosophy – and I began to learn more about Islam in that spirit. To my surprise, there was a lot in Islam that I already believed. Many of the things I struggled with in Christianity were solved with Islam. It all made so much sense. It was logical. It was beautiful. It was grounded.

I still did not think I would or could ever convert. Yet, as time went by and I learned more about Islam, I started to feel better. I was healing.

Gradually I realized I couldn’t not follow Islam. I couldn’t not be Muslim. And one year ago this week I said my shahadah. Alhamdulilah.

I know that this is the path I was being guided towards all those years ago. And I also know the journey is still just at the beginning. Inshallah.

Whether you were born Muslim or are a revert, what was your journey to Islam?

%d bloggers like this: