For too long I have denied myself the ability to be at peace; I only know the state of code orange (not quite full collapse but ever near the edge of running myself into pulp and withering from boredom), but something feels like it is changing…the balmy, oft-silent, desert embrace comes and with it, the hard work of quieting my mind/welcoming the Divine.
Salaams and checking in from Doha, Qatar! Al-hamdulilah my move here has been a lived experience of Surah Ash-Sharh, namely in that I’ve been blessed with an easier transition than expected facilitated by the kindness of others. While life here is very unlike my Muslim experiences in DC, I am glad that I arrived during Ramadan and am able to find comfort in my fasts despite the hellish heat (123 degrees anyone?). The other day I had a brief moment of intense sadness wash over me while sitting with Adeela (my girlfriend for reference) that stemmed from a racing mind that was finally allowed the space to comprehend moving away from the familiar routines, a wonderful community, and my family. Thankfully it was fleeting and to be honest, I find myself with a lighter heart now. Sure, I may be unemployed at the moment, but I have never felt more awake and enthused than now. Throughout the six years I have been Muslim I have come to realize that my connection with God is strongest when involving lots of “WTF, FML, and HS” moments, the kind that leave your stomach in knots, the kind that make you want to breakdown in taraweeh because you realize how privileged you are, or the kind that arises when you acutely detect an absence of warm love and only loneliness among the people you meet. There is no denying there is a lot of messed up stuff going on here (just this week a bunch of Nepali laborers were evicted from their apartments in the middle of the day), but I do not believe in the nihilism and apathy that permeates Doha. Much credit is due unto you (the (non-) Mipsterz communities) for being an aspiring family on multiple levels, but above all, the way in which you do not give up on the world.