In this Interfaith Voices blog, Honey reflects on this month’s theme of ’empowerment and faith’. Here she considers the lows in her life and how her faith empowered her; giving her strength, resolve and a sense of perspective.
I was always afraid. It has been my biggest impediment in achieving any kind of growth or progress. Afraid of obstacles, of difficulties, of what people thought of me, how to talk and act so as not to offend or displease seemed to have become my priority in life. My principles suffered. In fact they had faded into nothingness. When something exists only in theory without the solidness of practice then it ceases to be after a while. If you are purely living a life for others you are just living a lie for yourself. And the cause of this constant debilitating fear of things going wrong is emptiness. The emptiness is a lack inside of the courage that faith and trust in a higher power who is always there watching over you brings.
It took a long time and a lot of struggle before circumstances compelled me to the realisation that all the darkness I was afraid of – the struggles that are a natural part of a healthy and well lived life- did not mean the absence of light. That’s what I had made it into in my limited thinking whenever I was confronted with an obstacle – a dark bottomless pit with no rope with which to climb back up. But I now know: darkness exists as a necessity for light to show itself. The stars shine brightest in the darkest nights. The moon is most visible to us in the blackness of the sky. How can the day come without the night? The thing is, despite being born in a family with a strong religious identity I never truly understood my faith or how to comprehend it, to be truly empowered by it-to feel its presence and its strength in my veins. It was only when life gave me the most bitter of lemons-when I was forced to confront things on my own, when it felt as if I had been forsaken in every quarter by every person in this world, that I finally turned to my creator. I firmly believe that was the reason I was put in such a situation. The God of my faith and understanding was calling me, showing me that all those whom I had put my whole trust into were mere mortals like I, and prone to error and judgement. But He, ever forgiving and merciful was not that. And He had always been there, waiting for me to reach out to Him.
So when I did turn to Him, I discovered a compelling truth. That there is nothing more powerful than pouring your heart out in front of your creator. The results of such an action has only strengthened my belief in the nature of my faith: one with a living, listening, reciprocating God. A God who answers my prayers, who listens to my supplications and then shows me His wonders.
After that, whenever I have come across a hurdle, instead of feeling hopeless, I feel a sense of immense power, almost like I have a secret weapon that no one else has: that weapon is the full trust in my faith, that my Lord will help me in all my difficulties. Maybe it won’t be how I want it or imagine it to be, maybe it won’t be in the timeframe I desire, but help always comes in the most unimaginable of ways, and results in the most unbelievable relief; after all I believe Allah, the name I call God, is the best of planners. It is now that I finally understand why the founder of my faith, The Holy Prophet Muhammad, declared to his uncle and only remaining protector and guardian Abu Talib, who was urging him on behalf of irritated tribal leaders to abandon the preaching of his faith, Islam, that “Oh uncle, even if you placed the sun on my right hand and the moon on my left I would not renounce my message from God.” And he turned to leave.
Such powerful, faithful words from a poor orphaned merchant faced with the prospect of his only worldly means of protection leaving him! And yet his uncle, who never embraced his nephew’s religion even till the day he died was so affected by the unwavering empowerment that Muhammad’s faith gave him, that he called him back and declared: “Oh nephew I shall not abandon you ever.”
And I believe that it is this belief, this strength derived from faith that empowers the humblest of humans with the poorest of means to achieve anything. So now when life gives me lemons? I have enough within me to make lemonade.
Honey is creative. She likes giraffes and cats, and is a massive fan of chocolate!