I had three children in the bed ,laying between my husband and myself. Wrestling with their father, making funny noises and loving memories. Listening to their laughter I lay in ease.The children had an unsaid pact with me, they would never involve me in this play, meaning they would let me sleep or pretend to be asleep. They would wake their baba jani up, snuggle with him and then charge! Alhamdulilallah.
Fast forward a decade now, they seldom come into our bed. They don't have tickle fights anymore. No more tantrums about who is going to lay next to baba first.
Alhamdulilallah for growth. We have a different kind of bonding time now. We cook together, have deep conversations, go to cross country road trips and watch movies.
The love is there, just the way of showing affections have changed.
But where are the lights dim in all of this?
In my bedroom. The only electric light in the room have been two side table lamps for a decade now. Apart from a few hours of sunlight, the room is usually dark. I wasn’t bothered by it honestly up until last year. It took me almost 9 years to get irritated with the lighting in the room and I think that in itself is problematic, but then again I am an easy going person. I don’t make fuss about things that are working even if at a bare minimum rate. That’s how we women are, we don’t complain because we try to adjust, we don’t want to bother or we simply don’t dare.
I wear glasses and have a relatively weak eye sight. I was packing I believe and I felt I couldn’t see. I felt a surge of irritation and found myself saying, “Who spends a decade of their life in a room without enough light, Iram you are ridiculous."
And then I stopped.Suddenly a sea of questions and thoughts emerged. Why did it take me such a long time to admit, the light situation?
Because it was comfortable to not think about it. It would cost time, effort, energy and money. It was something we all were ok without.
But it was important, it was necessary, it was a need .. not an immediate one but still.
That dim lit room was me.
I was ok with not tending to my emotional needs until I went empty.
I was ok with the dim lights until I could barely see.
The dim lit room taught me that occupying space isn’t enough. Being fully present is what brightens the relationships. Mechanically doing our tasks and jobs and completing our projects doesn’t make the relationship work. But instead, feeling the emotions, understanding each others needs and reciprocating them brings light into the relationship.
The dim lit room taught me, my best in all of my efforts wherever I was exerting them ,in my relationships, was not actually my best. Instead it was an excuse to keep doing the bare minimum.
Bare minimum to what? I asked myself.
Bare minimum to grow, to learn, to process and work towards my purpose.
A purpose of being a conscious abd. A righteous abd. A content abd.
I wanted Noor. I wanted to see clearly. I wanted to express whatever I felt and not second guess it. I wanted to be able to say, I see this in the light of Quran, Sunnah, hikmah, my ego.. whatever it would be. I wanted to engage in conversations fully, enthusiastically, knowledgeably.
That day something shifted. I started working on my dim lit self. Filling it, with the noor of Quran, knowledge and contemplation. Something I was aware of previously too, but hadn’t harnessed the ownership of. I raised myself to a standard of an Abd. A conscious servant of God with purpose.
I am work in progress. We all are. But the question we all need to ask ourselves often is… Am I a dim lit room? Do I need to recharge? What will brighten me?
And then work on yourself, patiently, continually and relentlessly.
You deserve to be brightly lit, dear soul.
The Prophetic Dua:
اَللّٰهُمَّ اجْعَلْ فِیْ قَلْبِیْ نُوْْرًا وَّفِیْ بَصَرِیْ نُوْرًا وَّفِیْ سَمْعِیْ نُوْرًا وَّعَنْ یَّمِیْنِیْ نُوْرًا وَّعَنْ یَّسَارِیْ نُوْرًا وَّفَوْقِیْ نُوْرًا وَّتَحْتِیْ نُوْرًا وَّاَمَامِیْ نُوْرًا وَّخَلْفِیْ نُوْرًا وَّاجْعَلْ لِّیْ نُوْرًا وَّفِیْ لِسَانِیْ نُوْرًا وَّعَصَبِیْ نُوْرًا وَّلَحْمِیْ نُوْرًا وَّدَمِیْ نُوْرًا وَّشَعْرِیْ نُوْرًا وَّبَشَرِیْ نُوْرًا وَّاجْعَلْ فِیْ نَفْسِیْ نُوْرًا وَّاَعْظِمْ لِیْ نُوْرًا، اللّٰهُمَّ اَعْطِنِیْ نُوْرًا
"(O Allah, place light in my heart, and place light in my hearing, and place light in my seeing, and place light beneath me, and place light above me, and light on my right, and light on my left, and place light behind me, and make the light greater for me.') An Nasai.