A friend shared to me a glimpse of her difficulties in life. Not over a year ago, in a place where both Asia and Europe were affiliated, she is destined to pursue her dreams. She came from a small migrant town, south of the Philippines, where minerals which serve as the source of the people’s livelihood are so abundant.
Living in a foreign country never before might be as compelling as it sounds to some international students but for her it was not. Yes, she used to think that way. She was too accustomed to the real comfort of the province and when she got out of her comfort zone, aside from the foreseen cultureshock brought by the country she is in, it is the adjustment’s lengthy process that gave her a series of hard times. Who would not? She was too used to living in this certain place where only the calm and sweet sound of the nature are heard and she was suddenly moved to a beyond just metro-politan place by the time.
She explored some beautiful places of Istanbul with an unhealthy mind trying to console herself from the extreme yearning for home. The places were undeniably breathtakingly beautiful, attractive, and every spot of it is an instagram-worthy. Still she couldn’t find her fascination in everything that the more she tries to look at them, the more homesickness clutches at her heart. It too conquered her inner-being that even taking pictures of these stuffs bores her. She lost herself in the sea of strangers.
Winter season was just around the corner then. Even if it just has been less than a year ago since she started her journey away from her family, she could say it is her least-favorite time of the year because everything dies and goes to sleep and the sky turns dark for so long. She really longed to see the assorted colors of flowers, the way sun how it rises and sets in the east and west, respectively. Despite that, a small part of her still appreciates the chill in the air that the said season provides.
Months were majoritively spent on wondering and self-pitying. Every tears dropped in the surge of emotions. For this reason, she became a dormitory-bound person accompanied by her notes and pens writing and freeing her heart out and was no longer into travels. That was the least she could do next to talking to the All-Powerful One, Allah (S.W.T). “When you are in a place you have never been to before, thousands of miles away from your family, you only have your faith with you.”
She was close to thinking of giving up and was always looking back evaluating the probabilities that may occur in the past— it could have been better if she just stayed to where she used to be, it could have been better if she just continued what she already started, and it could have been better if she didn’t choose the other way around. That kind of thoughts.
This friend also mentioned her struggles with her generation. Some of these are not being able to hold herself from envying those people her age who are already halfway to their dreams and the fear of the possibility of falling under the shadow of her siblings. For she is to live in this country for estimatedly six years, the language course suddenly costed her one year of her life which extremely alarmed her because that would definitely be a long run in total. She felt like she has to run after and chase the time.
The cycle went on for 7 months. She always felt isolated and sad. She felt like things were not falling into places. Seizing for the real happiness— as a foreign student, she also tried to find the solution from the small amount of her bank account, tried to buy her own groceries, treated herself for a few new clothes in a hope of her swollen heart be able to be diverted into something that it had been longing to feel. Yet the feeling of emptiness and unfulfillness remained.
Another thing in the list, is the issue of her being an introvert. Because of being one, she almost lost some of her friends. Somebody tried to introvert-shame her and that gave her anxieties big time. That made her feel like she is less of a person. That again tested her patience. Still she managed to handle everything because she believes a person with class doesn’t have to shout when she defends herself. With that, she reflected things and thought of her shortcomings.
But you know what? What I realized as this friend sharing to me those stuffs, it is because she too much embraced the Dunya, in which it has been designed to break a heart that she unintentionally forgot to acknowledge the sixth in the Articles of Faith. Preordainment (Qadr), it is the God’s eternally preexistent knowledge and that nothing in existence lies outside of His devine control. Worry nothing because everything is under His control. With her mind’s youthfulness, she wanted things only for herself and she just wanted to be applauded, in which Allah should be the foundation in everything we people do.
She wanted to have something instantly when it was given that there’s no shortcut to success. Allah’s verse “You will not get righteousness until you spend what you love.” was indeed true enough because if she had just read the history of the prophets how they sacrificed their lives just to preserve the ummah and so as their successors’ and even those who own McDonald’s and Microsoft, her struggles now are nothing compared to those.
She didn’t realize that thousands of years ago, someone shouldered almost all the pains for her when he was on his deathbed. The Prophet Muhammad Peace And Blessings Be Upon Him. She didn’t realize that there’s this Hadith: “If Allah loves a servant, He tests him.” And not discerning the fact that Allah (SWT) actually made her an introvert because maybe in times like this she could write for Him. She found a home in writing that it became her outlet to pen things down to inspire her fellow young minds and those people who are having a hard times similar to hers.
Nine months have passed while fighting against her fears, she learned the value of communication, listening and forgiving. She is currently doing it, and yes she so far is doing well. And she learned that to succeed, one should allow room for failure. True enough because “Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear“. Being tested actually means that Allah loves her. Being in a place where she has to run long is actually going to make worth her while. Being an introvert is not a curse but actually a blessing.
Furthermore, with the heartaches brought by the world to her, she is now learning not to fall for it. There is something more than this worldly life—His Heaven or should I say His Heavens. What she needs to do now is to remain grateful and let Allah do the rest. I know this friend can overcome these difficulties even more with her faith to Allah. I know what she went and will be going through will make her grow more as a person, as a servant. I know because I am her and she is me.
An artist once said: “May be there are some things in your life you’re in a rush to get to or to have. It may hurt now to wait, but it will always be more than you ever dreamed of if you remain patient. Don’t lose hope.”
“But perhaps you may hate a thing and it is good for you, and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah knows while you know not.” —Al-Baqarah [2:216]