June 17, 2015
12:30 pm CST
My goal for the year was to deepen the relationships I had with my family, my friends, myself, and Allah ﷻ. Over the course of the last few months, I've had to make several difficult decisions in that pursuit. I've cut down on community involvement to be more present for my family and restructured my day to maximize time with them, gradually cut out and reworked and reconnected friendships, redirected the way I spent my time and what I committed to to remain true to long-term goals. My life has taken a few sharp hairpin twists and turns during all of that, sometimes leaving me feeling like the walls were caving in and that everything I'd worked for was slipping through my fingers.
In the moment, I was heartbroken and numb, devastated and uncaring. But with each time, trying to make a concentrated effort to accept the decree of Allah ﷻ, that simultaneous inordinate and underwhelming whirlwind subsided into contentment. Looking back at it all, it turns out that those perceived pitfalls and failures were truly nudges into the a better and more fulfilling direction. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in Self- Reliance, "The voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tacks. See the line from a sufficient distance, and it straightens itself to the average tendency." I look at my life, and I'm pleased with the way it's turning out, alhamdullilah. Every facet has become a true reflection of what I am and what I want to be.
It's a heart-stopping relief for Ramadan to finally be here and more importantly, to have finally made it. There's a calming sense of reassurance, the way your loved one would simply look at you with unspeakable emotion, and that heated instant would restore your confidence and burn away your fears.
Laying fingers against my throat, warm and silken, I can feel the jumping pulse. Rhythmic and steady, it paces on tirelessly. Pressing a little harder, and I can feel the feathering of a fluid against the pressure of my fingers. Yet, my pulse continues to dance onward. Allah ﷻ is closer to me than that jugular vein. My pulse quickens, and I'm suddenly aware of my pounding heart, the gentle vibrations of my trachea with every inhale and exhale. For a fraction of a second, I feel complete and connected. It feels like coming home. And indeed, for Abdullah Yusuf Ali wrote in a commentary of [50:16](quran.com/50/16) that, "As the blood-stream is the vehicle of life and consciousness, the phrase "nearer than the jugular vein" implies that Allah knows more truly the innermost state of our feeling and consciousness than does our own ego."
There's something about the Urdu language that has a sublime way of conveying emotion. The words are passionate and heady, expressing a range of human emotion and experience that in English one is left mutely grasping for straws. Take ghin, for example. An oily distaste that colors your perception, pure disgust, it's a word that implies a strong physical and psychological reaction of contempt and aversion. Even the word is spat out. Ghin
Then there are terms of endearment that coil around you, wrapping you tightly in their sensual embrace. One such is "mera tasali".
Mera, mine, fiercely possessive. You belong to me, you are mine. Then tasali. It's rooted in connotations of lullabies, soothing, minty balms on hot wounds, and the calming of storms. For this to be used, it'd have to refer to a remarkable person. The one who was the eye of the proverbial hurricane that can be life. The cocoon of warmth and safety, an orb of protection against the gusty gales.