Caring for ourselves

Okay, so this is going to read a little messy perhaps but please bear with me.

Caring for ourselves is not as simple as we might think. We try, right? We take our vitamins, watch our nutrition, drink plenty of water, get good sleep, laugh a little, read a lot, volunteer our time and money to help others, raise our children, care for our pets, maintain our homes and cars, keep steady jobs, endure years of education, plan for our future, squirrel away money for retirement, plan how many children we want and where we want them to go, what we want them to become and how we want them to look… we do it, right? I don’t know about you but I slip up and as nice and neat as this list may seem, there are many heartaches, sicknesses, disasters, unplanned events etc. that just happen… but we get through it, right? We can only try, try and keep trying. No matter how much we try, we can never know what is to come, nor are we even fully able to appreciate what has come before. Every time we slip, we get back up and carry on. By now, we must recognize how difficult it is to even carry out the task of  caring for and maintaining ourselves – and I’m not talking about our infancy when it is practically impossible for us to do – I’m talking about now, the self we know sitting here reading these words. It is not an easy task to maintain ourselves, let alone others.

Okay, so with that in mind take a look around you the next time you find yourself in a park or out in nature – outside the four walls that keep a portion of His Signs out of sight. Think about that tiny fragile bird traveling immense distances, the trees that are hundreds of years old, the tortoise that was around before you, the caterpillar that turns into a butterfly, the creatures of the seas, and much, much more. How immense and impossible for us to care for, provide and sustain. Impossible. Nor is it possible for any one of us to do – regardless of wealth, family lineage and so forth – neither alone nor collectively, we are not capable of maintaining ourselves properly, and then everything else on this tiny planet and beyond.

Now read and think about this verse from Surah Al-Baqarah of the Holy Qur’an (Sahih International translation):

Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His Kursi extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great. (2:255)

And please, listen to the Arabic too:

Just something to ponder… peace.

Mmm it smells wonderful!

Roses smell good, don’t they? To me, they smell wonderful… the scent of a rose is enough to relax me and bring on beautiful, peaceful thoughts.

You might know that some things smell like roses when they aren’t roses at all but did you know that there is bark that has a rose-like scent?

Okay… so perhaps you knew that. What about roots? Did you know that some plants have roots that smell like roses? SubhanAllah!

Take silverweed for instance. The root has a rose scent.  Not only that, what we see as little yellow flowers actually appear as two-tone flowers to insects like bees. The plant is useful for creation in so many ways and by uncovering its uses and secrets we can learn so much. SubhanAllah!

Silverweed – as it appears to us (left) and as it appears to a bee (right) demonstrated here as an ultraviolet image.

What about rose-root? While fresh root is scentless, when dried it smells like roses. SubhanAllah! This plant too is useful in so many different ways and Allah (SWT) has uncovered some of its secrets for us so that we may benefit from it. Alhamdulillah!

With so many favours enveloping us, so many favours to be grateful for, which of these can any of us deny?

Smile and Cry

On this journey towards falah, there are signs along the way that let one know where their heart is at and to illuminate the path. When one takes stock of one’s heart, though it may still be at a relatively early stage in the journey, insha’Allah with patience and perseverance it will reach a point where knowledge beyond the earthly signs will also bring on smiles and tears.

For now, we embrace those earthly signs that bring on smiles and tears and are grateful to Allah (SWT) for everything He provides.