****NOTE: I meant to post this before Ramadan started, but with the crazy of life, I haven’t been able to. Hopefully, once things get into a more natural rhythm, I’ll be posting on a more regular basis
The week before Ramadan is always one of the busiest. I’ve been officially volunteering at my masjid for Ramadan for about 12 years now, unofficially for about 14. This week we held the volunteer meetings, have been making multiple runs to Wal-Mart, and printing and laminating the usual signs: No Food in the Prayer Room; Please Don’t Change Diapers in the Prayer Room; No Kids Allowed in the Prayer Room (The looks I get from the Staples lady are very entertaining). The week before Ramadan is also a serious time of reflection for me. I’m not too big on New Year’s resolutions, but I try to use Ramadan as a time to better myself. I look back on the year, highlight my highs and lows, set a goal to accomplish by the end of the month, and hopefully maintain that goal for a little while longer.
This year’s lows (There were many, but these are pretty much on the top of the list):
- Doubting myself, my character, my imaan. Many things led to this, but the single most contributor was the gloriously treacherous road to marriage.
- My relationship with my mother becoming even more strained than before.
- Feeling completely overwhelmed and helpless when my mother went to Hajj.
- Distancing some good friends because of my personal issues.
- Coaching my first ever regional MIST team, alone.
- Somehow watching half a season of My Little Ponies on Netflix (Please don’t ask…)
This year’s highs (Again, top of the list):
- Dropping my mother off at the airport for Hajj. Technically, this isn’t actually for me, but there were so many obstacles leading up to this point, there were plenty Alhamdulillah’s to go around.
- Welcoming yet another baby into the family (and not dwelling on the fact that the age difference between this new cousin and me is about 24 years).
- Overcoming the “lack of available suitors” blues and finding a friend in the ruble.
- Coaching my first ever regional MIST team and having one of my competitors place Top 5. That pretty much made all the chaos and drama worth it.
- Going to Toronto for MIST Nationals, reconnecting with old friends, making new friends, and going crazy with all the NY and ATL wins.
- Rewatching Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in its entirety on Netflix (Netflix: the reason I will always stay 7 years old at heart)
I’ve been blessed to have had all of these moments in my life, ups and downs. Life is filled with ups and downs and it’s humbling to get perspective when remembering that there are things much greater out there than just you. The situations I find myself in time and again are constant tests of my will, character, and deen. I can be optimistic and say that I’ve passed all of these tests, but in all honesty, I know I haven’t. But that’s what it means to be human, right? We need to be able to admit our own flaws, but at the same time we should constantly strive to improve upon them. We should also be able to accept others with their own flaws. These are things I’ve always had a hard time doing. When dealing with slightly unreasonable elders after a day of fasting and running around, my patience and temper are at dangerous levels at times. I’ll admit that I have a had time accepting the fact that many of the elders that we are supposed to look to for examples have not set such great examples for me to follow. It’s always very disheartening for me when I think of how so many elders, adults, and Muslims in general have disappointed me when not acting the way I would hope that they would act. I’m known at my masjid for being the honest one, the one that they send out when someone needs to be ‘dealt with’. While I pride myself on being genuine in my thoughts, I also need to be able to accept things for the way they are, flaws and all. InshAllah, this is one thing I hope to work on this year. This is my Ramadan resolution.
As we enter into the blessed month of Ramadan, let’s pray that we can use this month to its fullest and that we can manage our tempers, have a little more patience, and be as close to Allah (swt) as possible. Ramadan Mubarak!