A little over three months ago, my life was progressing as normal. It was the middle of fall, the middle of the first semester at school, and everything was just kind of acceptable. I teach French at a middle school and I was happy with my student’s progress, happy with my children’s work at their Islamic school, and generally happy with my life and my friends.
I’m not a person who reflects too much on how my life is not what I planned it to be. I know that God has led me to where I am, that it is best to be happy and grateful for what I have, and to make the most and try to be the best person in the situation that I am given. Of course, I’m not perfect and teaching at public school along with two little princesses and a house full of work can lead someone to complain and feel drained from time to time. And so, I thought that while I could have pictured a better situation, that I was happy in mine and that my family was happy as well. Koolshee mmzyen.
Well, God is in control of all things and sometimes he has plans for us that are unexpected. I spoke with a friend of mine about the power of dreams recently and it was a very deep philosophical conversation. The gist of it was something life this: humans are given these gifts called dreams. Dreams are messages from our subconscious (in my mind that means that God is relaying this message to us through ourselves) that are telling us what we really desire and what we need to change in our lives. We should all try to study and contemplate our dreams because if we did, then we might really understand how to be happy and fulfilled in this life. Sadly, we dont. We forget our dreams (both meanings intended), we ignore them, we continue on with our everyday lives because we don’t have time to think about what we should be doing or what we want to be doing… or we have too many responsibilities to act on them.
So, three months ago, this inaction came back to bite me in the butt. As I said, I thought that everything was good – in Moroccan “koolshee mmzyen”. Apparently, though, I had been unhappy for quite a while, and even though I was trying to be a zen master, a good wife, a good mother, a good teacher, a good friend, and even just a good me… I was complaining to everyone that came within 10 feet of me. I was pouring out discontent in gallons and beating people down with my frustration. The effect: my personal and professional life were falling apart and I felt like I was being torn into shreds. I was a hot mess. WOW! The realization that it was my fault took a lot of tears, lonely nights, and phone calls to my really truly patient and wise friend before I could understand. Thankfully, this realization has led to a transformation of me (or at least I’m on my way there).
Here’s what I am working on and have worked on… letting go of old habits that encourage you to judge others and that suffocate the real you into a person who is just drudging through the day. This includes a new diet (and something I have dreaded all my life – calorie counting) and regular exercise. It includes a new physical appearance – one that has been noted as uplifting by some and is taboo to others. That’s ok, though… it’s what I need right now. It also includes letting things go that I can’t control (because I am a bit of a control freak) – like other people’s behavior. It is my job to work on my children and students; but even as a mom there are some days that I just have to realize I can’t stop my child from being who she is.
… and finally, it includes a plan to return to a place where I have found peace, and beauty, and simplicity. A place where maybe I can become the me that I always wanted to be. The me who studied French not because she wanted to teach it and take all the beauty out of it, but wanted to learn about new people, new cultures, new lifestyles and seek happiness in another place (because she couldn’t find it where she was from). The me that saw herself as a person who couldn’t change the whole world but could try to do good in as many people’s lives as possible. The me who saw herself as a loving caring selfless mother and wife who would be loved by her family and not become a crazy stamp of their lives.
Insh’Allah, this is what was planned when that huge bump in the road turned everything upside down. Insh’Allah this was an answer to one of my prayers for peace and to be a better Muslim. InshAllah this will be the right path and now I can get up and dust off my clothes, clean the scrapes off my knees and continue on my journey. Insh’Allah!