At a point in my life where I was feeling extremely low, I would sometimes go to the nearby masjid just to feel some sort of peace. I would go alone and attempt to avoid any interactions. I would try my best to slow down the negative thoughts that ran through my head. Doing this every so often would be the bit of comfort that I needed to urge me to continue on.
On one of the days I was there, a sister who I met for the first time greeted me with the warmest of smiles. She mentioned that I didn’t look at ease, and without further questioning me, she began chatting with me as though we were long-time friends.
Every word she spoke, and every story she shared with me instantly tugged at my heart. I couldn’t stop myself and ended up uncontrollably tearing up like a baby. It was as though my heart found her familiar, and finally opened up after so long.
This embarrassing moment of crying into a stranger’s arms and “randomly” bumping into her on various occasions after that (it was always whenever my heart needed it), was a constant reaffirmation to myself: that people truly cross your path for a reason, and you are sometimes given reminders at moments when you may either be looking for them or not – but in hindsight, when you need them most. And this is one of the biggest mercies.
When my sight becomes a bit foggy and someone with a light like her’s helps me to see His Light a little clearer, this is without a doubt a gift that I am a million times grateful for.
May we all become reflections of His Light for those around us, even for strangers we may speak to only briefly.
• • •
God shows His love and presence through His signs.
There had been something in my life that I absolutely loved to do. I was excited to jump out of bed hours early just to plan out the day. I would go above and beyond the expectations because it made me beam with happiness inside. Sometimes, the things I would do would be unnecessary and over-the-top, I’ll admit, but I didn’t care. It was my love for this striving that blinded me from the idea of “doing just enough to get by.”
However, I wasn’t being noticed for what I was doing and that crushed my heart. It shouldn’t have, right?
I had to sit down and ask myself: did I expect something in return? Did I wish for a “thank you” or a pat on the back? Was this what I wanted? I shook my head so many times with distaste at my feelings.
The flutter in my chest every time I spoke about what I loved doing was not for others to appreciate me. It was because I needed this, it was what I wanted to do. The very thing that made me get up so early in the morning was passion—not the fascination of wanting to look good in front of others or wanting to be praised.
It took some time to digest this. When I did, this newfound thought helped me realize something else. Something that stopped the tears that traced down my scrunched-up and confused face in hurt.
Nothing we’ve ever given has gone unnoticed. Every sacrifice we’ve made, God has seen it. If no one acknowledges our hard work, the dedication and passion we put towards what we do, know that God acknowledges us. He knows all that we do and He will reward us with something so unimaginable that we’ll wonder why we craved others’ acknowledgements in the first place.
And maybe a part of that very reward in my case, and at that moment, was clarity. Learning to purify my intentions. This revelation helped me become grateful for this passion that was ignited within me. And also helped me realize that it can exist without needing to be fed by others’ recognition. It also gave be hope to continue to do what I love.