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The Awesome, the Happy, and the Good.

July 11, 2010
by

“Cancer informed, but could not dictate, the last five years of Mom’s life. Once, when a nurse suggested that she cultivate an appreciation for life’s singular moments, Mom was flooded with joy, for she realized she had always done just that.”

– Gardening By Heart: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Garden by Joyce McGreevy

How exquisite to know that as your life draws to a close, you recognized the awesome, the happy, and the good. I  hope that my daughters are  able to say that about me one day. You know, rather than, “Hey, remember how mom was either freaking out or yelling?”

I believe it’s fairly easy to think you are slowing down, holding that little shard of everyday joy in your palm before placing it in your memory. However, many of us, including me, are racing through life powered by emotions such as fear and anger rather than awe. There is so much to be angry about. I am looking at you Arizona, British Petroleum, DRC rebels, the Palestine/Israel conflict, laundry, sitting on fresh bird poop, slippery hijabs, no alone time… ad nauseum, ad infinitum. We all have a personal agenda for our lives, things we believe in and care about, and it can ugly up in here when other people don’t agree or life doesn’t follow the  rules. Also, even though there was every indication to the contrary, most of us thought when we were kids that we would know what in the hell we were doing when we grew up and wouldn’t be scared any longer. Ha, what a big joke! Thanks, grownups, for not making that CLEAR ENOUGH.

So really, despite the worrying and rushing and cleaning and arguing and cooking and horrible, horrible lack of sleep, it’s summer and beautiful. I’m working on filing away gorgeous moments, like some poppies floating in the breeze. Or discovering that one of the sweetest sounds to my ear is the thud of many knees hitting the floor in preparation for sujood. I discovered this when I was downstairs with my girlies, in a classroom beneath the masjid where people with small children are encouraged to make salat. You know, because people would burst out laughing and have to make wudu again when your kid cries out with loving gusto, “BOO-BEES!” Anyway, everyone’s knees made this synchronized thump, and to me, it will forever represent the sound of many prayers being uttered together.

Some delightful things in no particular order. Very dirty toddler toes. Legos! Jaggery on buttery toast. The steam rising from mint lemongrass tea. Those few, so few, cool, clear days of summer without even a hint of humidity. Rereading a great mystery where you kind of recall the ending but rather than spoiling the story it makes you more eager to pick out the half-remembered clues (currently Death and the Joyful Woman by Ellis Peters). The tiny sliver of solitude (so sweet) that is the only gift insomnia can give you in the dark hours of the early morning. That no matter how spasmodically wicked the day has been, that the mischief makers behind the sleepy kisses and dimpled paws probably do really love their old mother. A fine friend, a tattooed, eco-conscious, vegan adventurer, hijabi girl is FINALLY moving back into town (Missed you so, A-!). Watching fireflies in the dusk. The promise of summer pies. Working on a stupid basement tile project with the Dude, my Captain Wentworth, who gently finishes, with minimal teasing, what this scrawny girl doesn’t have the strength to. Looking in the mirror and seeing my mother’s laugh lines, eyebrow quirk, and crowded bottom teeth.

I am so lucky. This life can be so good. Yes, I’m hoping for something better in the akhirah, insha’Allah, should I be so blessed. We know that this life is but a drop, a moment in the course of our existence, but I wish to take notice and be content and grateful for even the smallest of wonders Allah has seen fit to show me.

What are you noticing these days?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 12, 2010 8:53 pm

    > What are you noticing these days?

    Smells.

    I have a chronic dust allergy, so I begin each day with at least seven sneezes, and the rest of the time, I have a mostly-blocked nose. You can imagine how much that reduces my sense of smell…but because I’ve always had it, I don’t really notice.

    What I do notice is when suddenly I smell something and it’s like I’ve never smelled anything before. The smell of jam…the most amazing smell. The smell of soap. It’s amazing how the simplest smells are the most soul-filling. I could smell detergent all day and be completely happy.

    • Allumer permalink
      July 12, 2010 10:11 pm

      I have hay-fever (very badly) and chronic dust allergies. You should really try a neti pot with warm saltwater in it. It’s very effective for cleaning out blocked nasal passages, even though you have to run it through several times.

      • July 20, 2010 9:15 pm

        Um, I don’t have the first idea what a neti pot is!

        Okay, this might be weird, but just…believe me. I kind of…like my morning sneezes. They’ve been my good companion this twenty years 😀 And they’re something constant and reliable, and I like it that despite all of the changeable things in my life, some things are predictable and ‘safe’ and always the same.

        So even if I could take something to stop it, I think I should choose not to. I don’t feel handicapped in any way, and the imperfection of this particular allergy is something that weirdly makes me more comfortable with my life. I even find when my nose is too clear that I have trouble with all that cold air going straight to my head and giving me a headache XD

        How’s that for a complicated irrational answer to a simple suggestion!

  2. Rivenheart permalink
    July 13, 2010 4:42 pm

    Warmth. Sunlight. Then the ever refreshing shade that I have to hide in because I was just not made for any kind of hot weather.

    The blown up shells of fireworks that I sit back and go, “That one was a GOOD one.” Even though I never actually saw it.

    The taste of strawberries. With homemade whipping cream.

    And (of course) the marvels of the internet. How convenient it is!!! 😀

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