Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Reframing "Lonely"

As salaam alaikum,

A little surprised that I have a post a day after so long of...not. This is a rare time for me, my nearly 3 months of not having academic responsibilities while not yet being a resident. So I have plenty of time to sit, think, ruminate, reflect, introspect...while running errands for residency and preparing for my move out west, insha'Allah.

I use these free times also to try to get my stress coping mechanisms in order, because I'm in for the grandest ride of my life, my professional life, at least, that will transform me into the physician I need to be for my patients, whoever they may be. More than just stress coping, I try to get my spirituality in order to help buffer what's tough about the dunya, this world, and to support me on my path to Allah (swt).

I have these feelings that come from within that I call "God feelings." I don't usually think in words spoken aloud that come from outside of my body, but sometimes...words come to me, as if spoken inside of my body, from outside of my body. They usually come in phrases. Like with my ex, "You're going to end up with him," with the understanding that I wouldn't know the duration, but that this was fact.

So, a couple of days back, I got, "You need to reframe your 'lonely.'" And I got exactly what that meant.

I've been lonely for a long time. It harkens back to me being a kid and not being able to form long-term friendships with my classmates and others because of my parents' relative social isolation. I've been lonely since I was the only girl not wearing shorts and flirting with boys at my first middle school, since being the new kid at my second middle school, since my own social misfit days in high school, since becoming Muslim without community in college. Since being very single for much of medical school.

I call it lonely, and people are always like, "How can you be lonely, with your friends all around you and your family here?"

And I beat myself up for it, wondered about it, attributed to the lack of a man in my life...but, as I alluded to in Losing a False Heaven, I want those days to be over and done. No more counting on the false god of the future husband to deliver me from loneliness.

I think the call to reframe my loneliness came after I finally rejected this amalgamated phantom that was my future husband. who can help you?

And the answer is, as it was always, God. No one else can help or hurt you. Only God. Only.

So what is actually this lonely?

It's my maturity, my spiritual coming-of-age. It's me recognizing the blessing that is the human experience. It's quiet time, time when you can hear nothing and it's just you and God. You and God.

My loneliness is God's protection of me from things I don't need. Things that I want or may covet and shouldn't have. Things that I shouldn't be. God's protection, because I prayed for it and because I was so blessed when I don't know to even ask for protection.

My loneliness is the realization of God's purpose for me. Him guiding me along the way, leading me as sometimes I kick and scream and want to run away like a wayward toddler who doesn't understand the way of things and who wants to assert her own agency.

A gente quer ter voz ativa, no nosso destino mandar...

My loneliness is time to pray, time to thank God and ask for forgiveness, that I have not been correctly using. It is my time to learn and grow.

It is my love growing in wait of all of the beloveds that will come into my life that I have not yet met and who I could never fashion in a dream.

My loneliness is, in fact, a blessing, an artifact of who I am, who I've grown to become by God's grace. It doesn't have to be lava que cobre tudo. Lava that covers everything and hardens and darkens after it burns on impact. Nor am I using this reframing as an excuse to retreat into myself.

We are one but God creates us distinctly, with distinct though similar and intersecting paths...I am lonely because of this distinction, and because I am not quite at an intersection, and those who will insha'Allah fill my life are in parallel with me right now. Whoever veers whichever way, our paths will intersect, and maybe combine as one or maybe we'll continue in parallel. Allah (swt) knows what we don't. And this is life. And this is life.

And even if it were that one's road is always in parallel to another, God is at the end, by His grace, and we all meet at the destination.

Which makes my lonely, though purposeful, less lonely.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the article "REFRAMING LONELY". I had been browsing for about 3 hours trying to find something to kill my loneliness which eventually was killing me. Ended up here and finally some words of comfort. Thanks again.