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Bittersweet Regrets

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on

Each of us has our own regrets, shortcomings we want to better or bad habits we want to break free from. It’s part of being human. Like anyone else, there are regrets I look back at. They humble me, motivate me, they remind me there’s more to do and so much to mend. It’s a journey I haven’t found an end to, so I go on. There’s one memory I have in mind right now from long ago, one I want to share today.

Muslims have this obligation to pray together every Friday a little past noon. Before it, a sermon. I’m there for the sermon and a guest speaker from abroad was leading for the day. He made a simple request for the people to come closer and close the gaps. In Islam, this is good. Although I was already close to the front, I made the effort to look around anyhow and began to stand up. Halfway up however, I noticed absolutely no one was moving. I’m also sure the speaker was looking at me with a look of shock. I was so confused, like what’s going on here? No one’s moving and I could swear the guy was looking towards me as he spoke. Maybe I was shy, maybe I thought I looked weird, maybe I started to question if I heard what I did. It was so long ago. To cut it short, I sat back down.

Ten minutes later, he begins to talk about the people and his fear for where we’re headed. To reference, he reminded us of his simple request to come closer and to close the gaps, but no one did. Strange that, probably a hundred or more people at the time, scattered–such an effortless request was for our faith and not for him–still no one bothered to move. I was humiliated and ashamed of myself for being so close, only to give up at the end. Whatever the reason, I let my concerns regarding the conduct of others prevent me from doing something good. We could say the issue wasn’t anything big, but that’s part of the issue, isn’t it? Anyone can say they want to be a master in such and such a field, then complain about the effort it takes to get there. It’s possible for someone to aim high, only to do everything in their power to skip the steps to get there. Sometimes it feels like it can get to to a point where without these shortcuts, it becomes tempting to drop it altogether.

I’d like to believe I’ve changed since then. At the same time, I’d like to believe I’m mature enough not to ruminate on the thought. Whether I’ve changed or not, what matters is that I’m constantly acting in a way that goes against that part of me. It doesn’t matter whether I’ve proven myself against it time and time again for the last decade or ten, it doesn’t matter if this is no longer a part of who I am, I don’t want ever want to see myself fall into it, whether that be within the next decade or ten. If it’s no longer who I am, then I’m sure I shouldn’t mind staying this way the rest of my life. Allah willing, I won’t let up.


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