‘Retrospective Perspective’- excerpt from Live What You Love

We’re all very, very busy. We have e-mails to answer, planes to catch , and we’re constantly reshuffling schedules to squeeze in new meetings, each more important, more urgent than the last. But every now and then, we get a signal: life should be more satisfying.

Have you ever found yourself counting up the days to the weekend– and it was only Monday?

You start searching for daily pleasures to reward yourself for just getting through another day: ice cream, shopping, or going out for dinner. Some people even believe that a two-week vacation once a year is enough to keep them feeling happy and fulfilled.

Is it right that we spend so much time planning our next escape?

When we were small, we blew out the candles on our birthday cake believing that all of our hopes and dreams would become real. And when Jiminy Cricket urged us to wish upon a star, we all tried it, at least once. So when exactly did you stop wishing? When did you start doing the things you had to do instead of the things you wanted to do?

When did your dreams get buried under the responsibilities of adulthood?

Now you sense than something needs to change, but you’re too busy to stop and think about what it is. You long for those forgotten times when each day’s accomplishments filled you with energy and enthusiasm.

When there were a million special days.

The first day of school, the night before your fifth birthday, summer vacation, your first kiss…all of these were momentous achievements that made you feel almost giddy inside.

But now you sometimes feel as if you’re stuck in a great big rut and, as the years go by, the rut keeps getting deeper and deeper. You sense loss, understanding that you were meant to do more.

Your dreams feel so far away and always seem to be just out of reach.

But they’re silly dreams, you tell yourself. Get real. After all, you have a job; you’re earning a living. You have responsibilities. You can’t go off chasing crazy dreams.

Besides, it’s scary to think about going out on a limb.

But the dreams just won’t go away and they keep popping up. If only dreams came with a guarantee. Then you’d be as secure as you are now. Your job is secure, right?

Wouldn’t it be awful to live your whole life and then say, “Wait! I need another chance. I just wanted to try this one thing.”

Remember how scared you were to take the training wheels off your bike? Or how much courage it took for that first kiss? Nothing stopped you then.

So what’s stopping you now?

– Excerpt from Live What You Love by Bob and Melinda Blanchard, emphasis mine

– Thank you Arsalan for gifting us this book! :)

Speak mildly no matter what

The following verse has been taken from Surah Ta-Ha. “Both of you” in this verse refers to Moses and Aaron who are instructed by God to approach Pharoah.

اذْهَبَا إِلَى فِرْعَوْنَ إِنَّهُ طَغَى

فَقُولَا لَهُ قَوْلًا لَّيِّنًا لَّعَلَّهُ يَتَذَكَّرُ أَوْ يَخْشَى

“Go, both of you, to Pharaoh, for he has indeed transgressed all bounds;

“But speak to him mildly; perchance he may take warning or fear (God).” (20:43-44)

What I find amazing about this verse is that while admitting that Pharoah has transgressed all bounds and was perhaps the meanest biggest baddest ruler, God still instructs Moses and Aaron to speak to him mildly. Two things strike me about this: First that no matter how bad someone is, we still need to keep our own tongues (and manners) in check and secondly, we should not give up on people. Even knowing how bad Pharoah was, this verse still points to hope and gives him a chance in case he repents.

Preconceived Notions

Today’s verse is contributed by AB Malik:

A verse which I feel is very relevant to our times. We’re always judging people and are quick to form opinions about others. We don’t realise that we see the world from our perspective which is not necessarily always true or the complete picture.

يٰأَيُّهَا الَّذينَ ءامَنوا لا يَسخَر قَومٌ مِن قَومٍ عَسىٰ أَن يَكونوا خَيرًا مِنهُم وَلا نِساءٌ مِن نِساءٍ عَسىٰ أَن يَكُنَّ خَيرًا مِنهُنَّ ۖ وَلا تَلمِزوا أَنفُسَكُم وَلا تَنابَزوا بِالأَلقٰبِ ۖ بِئسَ الِاسمُ الفُسوقُ بَعدَ الإيمٰنِ ۚ وَمَن لَم يَتُب فَأُولٰئِكَ هُمُ الظّٰلِمونَ

”O you who believe, let not people laugh at other people, for they may be better than they. Nor shall any women ridicule other women, for they may be better than they. Nor shall you mock one another, or call each other names. Evil indeed is the reversion to wickedness after attaining faith. And anyone who does not repent, then these are the transgressors.” (49:11)

Kind Word

قَوْلٌ مَّعْرُوْفٌ وَّمَغْفِرَةٌ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ صَدَقَةٍ يَّتْبَعُهَاۤ اَذًى‌ؕ وَاللّٰهُ غَنِىٌّ حَلِيْمٌ

“A kind word and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury. And God is Free of need and Forbearing.” (2:263)

One of the most difficult things to give away is kindness and most of the time it is usually returned someway or the other. As Mother Theresa famously said, “Kind words are short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”

At the same time it is important to avoid unkind or hurtful language towards others. The kindest word in all the world is the unkind word, unsaid.