Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Journey of the Heart

For all my friends with small kids, here is a reflection told to me by a friend. There is only one day left... no, maybe only a few moments ... but I hope maybe someone who reads this will be inspired as I was to take a journey with their heart.

With our children and homes and meal preparation, the diapers that need changing and the babies that need nursing, the meat that needs cooking, the teasing and fighting and the ever-present messes to clean up, it can seem almost hopeless that we will ever be able to sit down for a stretch of time, as we once used to, and read some Quran with deep contemplation and inner peace. Prayers are cut short by brawling children--and forget about the extra nawafil! After the kids' bedtime, it takes every last ounce of strength to stay up to worship in the quiet of the night.

When I compare what I am doing these last ten days to what I used to do in college or before I had kids, I feel discouraged. I always envisioned my life as an upwards curve, increasing in worship and discipline and understanding as I grew older. Instead, my spirituality had a head-on collision with motherhood and is entangled now with distraction, nerves, and a trace of mental incoherence.

But I was encouraged by a friend and mentor to try as hard as I could, while keeping in my mind that it is the journey of the heart that counts, not the number of prayers or the long hours spent reading Quran. While the physical acts are required and essential--they are the legs upon which our heart walks and without them we are paralyzed--in the end it will not be the large quantity of good deeds alone that will get us where we need to be.

If we can let our heart flee, fly, reach to be with Allah, even if our mental and physical state is outwardly pathetic, then maybe, in His Mercy and Generosity, we will be excused and allowed to catch up with the righteous ones.

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