I wish to dedicate this poem to my beloved uncle Dawood. When he was a young man, a car accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. Despite this crushing event, he managed to overcome his situation and went on to become a successful teacher, husband and loving father of two beautiful children.
Sometimes our lives become so stationary that the only time we feel motion is in our dreams. Sometimes our circumstances appear so unchanging that each day is like an identical twin of the next.
Some hardships sink their fangs so deeply into our souls that the thought of the ever letting go becomes unthinkable.
Yet all of these perceptions are mere illusions, since the only constant in this world is change. If the entire universe is always changing, what makes you believe that your situation is an exception.
We no longer appreciate the miracle of being alive, nor the countless gifts that we’ve been granted. If you have sight, imagine you were blind. If you can walk, imagine you were paralyzed. And if you are free, imagine you were imprisoned.
We no longer live in the moment, but instead live in a past that fills us with pain and regret, or a future that envelopes us with fear and worry.
We have lost our ability to see the world with the sense of wonder we once felt as children; when even a grain of sand could bring us wonder.
We have become blind to all the beauty that surrounds us. The Qur’an tells us that all of creation, from the stars in the night sky to the rocks on the ground, are engaged in perpetual glorification of God.
They are like a symphony of joy that we drown out when we choose to seclude ourselves in the dark dungeons of our ingratitude and self-pity, thus embodying the miserable soul that Terrence Malicu referred to when he wrote: “It finds reasons to be unhappy, when all the world is shining around it, and love is smiling through all things.”
And yet… and yet there is always hope. Hope that we can once again rekindle the flame of our lost wonder. Hope that we can begin to appreciate the countless blessings that we enjoy. Hope that we can once again hear and see the symphony of joy that permeates all living things.
How frozen life sometimes seems
When motion is felt in just our dreams
When hardship’s fangs sink so deep
And hope’s gatekeeper falls asleep
When yesterday is today’s twin
And tomorrow is its next of kin
All of this is a great delusion
Since permanence is just illusion
Each day is different yet seems the same
Not counting our blessings is one cause to blame
Not seeing the beauty in a grain of sand
Or a wild flower in a boy’s hand
A child-like wonder we left behind
Not living in the moment; distracted mind
Searching for reasons to feel so down
While creation’s symphony of joy we drown
*lines 11, 12, 15 and 16 were inspired by the works of William Blake and Terence Malicu