Dear World

He would fall silent, his face crumpling in consternation as he realizes his idea of what I am is fast disappearing along with my drink. How did a girl with parents like mine get her toe cut off?

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Dear World-

I’m sitting on my bed with my old friends of the week- anti bacterial ointment and a bandage- and examining the ugly cut on my toe. I wasn’t exactly being smart when I got it, not unless you call running across the hay meadow at dusk in foam soled shoes smart. (Old hay stalks are sharper than you think!) To be honest, I have no real idea what I stepped on,and what if it was metal or something like that? And I get gangrene? Darn!

I picture my toe falling off. Carefully putting on the bandage, I imagine me in five years sitting across from a suitor and lifting a nonchalant shoe under the table.

“I thought I’d better tell you before we get too serious- I’m missing a big toe.”

 He would fall silent, his face crumpling in consternation as he realizes his idea of what I am is fast disappearing along with my drink. How did a girl with parents like mine get her toe cut off?

 “Oh- uh- how did that happen?”

It makes me laugh, but it brought to mind how little Muslim couples actually know each other sometimes. I’d heard way too many stories of people getting married in a flush of nuptial bliss, only to face nasty reality when their dowry never shows up- or the Perfect Dude suddenly won’t let them out of the house- or he already has a wife he didn’t mention- or a toe missing! And chances are a kid is on the way.

I like to think I’m far too suspicious for this to happen, and definitely not the trusting type. I tell my sister that a definite clause in my contract is the No Second Wife Rule….i.e.’if you get a second wife I get a divorce’.

“Maybe you shouldn’t put it in the contract, just get it across that you trust him to understand that it isn’t okay with you.”

“He’d probably do it anyhow. This way it’s crystal clear that if he wants a second wife she won’t be my second.”

Misery is what comes to mind when I think of that scenario. Freaking messy misery. And I wonder if I’m being too distrustful.

But honestly, I think that as women we should avail ourselves of all the Islamic rights we have in marriage and be sure to follow up on them. We hear a lot about the women we should be, the wives and sisters we should be like, our husband’s rights, but not so much about our own rights. In the end, our parents and friends can’t always protect us. I have to look out for myself in some things, and that’s where dictating the terms of the contract come in. If he refuses to fulfill them I’d have to seriously think about whether I wanted this to be the rest of my life with him- and I feel like I’d probably decide not to.

But then, I reason, there’s love, which is messy. What if he disregards the rules and does what he likes but I love him too much to leave him? The idea leaves me feeling rather helpless.

“You know, I don’t plan on having kids for at least three years so I can be really sure he’s the father I want for my kids.”

My sister just looks at me.

Sunset

One of our beautiful Missouri sunsets….shot on my phone. Next to writing, I love photography………….translation, walking around shooting picture on my mini Galaxy Samsung phone. I’ve actually found I like it better then my mother’s camera, partly because I can get on my stomach and climb up onto things without worrying about breaking it too much!20151025_182513

(Funny Incident of the Day: When my eleven year-old sister opened my door a crack and peered crossly in. ME: “What?” HER: “I don’t think everyone has brothers like this. One of them is lying on his stomach yelling at fake German soldiers under the couch.”)

Safety

Sometimes it’s so hard for people to understand why.

Why on earth someone in this world of self-satisfaction would hold back. Someone who measures their life with not the people’s measuring stick, but one from a source some simply can’t understand.Sometimes it’s as simple as fasting- No way could I starve for a religion!- or as complicated as modesty and reserve in hijab- why would you believe in a God who tells you to disappear?

It’s not easy to answer questions like this. Too often people will justify it by a completely selfish standard- ” I wear hijab for myself,” “I fast because it detoxifies my body” when really the reason is so much simpler- and so much more complex. We fast or cover or pray five times a day because Allah tells us to. Why Allah tells us to, debate it out. But in the end, even if you think otherwise, He is so much wiser is his love for us than we can ever be.

Sometimes people obey Him purely out of fear of the Fire. Sometimes it’s purely out of wanting Paradise. The scholars say it should be both of these- because He is just and Severe in his punishment of bad and also the Most Merciful, the Most Beautiful, the Most Loving in forgiveness and reward.

Some of us do what he tells us out of love for Him, and we are truly blessed in that love. It might seem unfathomable, but some of the hardest things are got through by the knowledge that more than you love Him, He loves you in return. You believe in Him because you have seen His presence. He has helped you through hard times and blessed you more than you can imagine. He doesn’t need your good deeds. You do.

My favorite hadith is a hadith Qudsi- a narration of the Prophet in Allah’s words. He says-  “If he (my servant) comes one span nearer to me, I go one cubit nearer to him; if he comes one cubit nearer to Me, I go a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running.”

I often recall something I heard once. It was said by a young girl, probably not much older than me. She was born in Lebanon to an American mother, and her non-religious father couldn’t understand her dedication to her faith.

“What do you get from this that you didn’t have before?”

She barely had to think about it before she replied- softly, firmly-

“Safety.”