I really think that God loves me so much…
I have never doubted this however it means something extra special to see evidence of this cozy, warm, fuzzy feeling of love - every day - especially on the day you were born.
Today is my birthday and somehow for the past few years I have always managed to make it more meaningful and special as I age..
I am actually super excited to get older now because I get to celebrate my life a little more every year…
Why am I crying now?
I think because it feels so real. After struggle and pain, celebration feels so well earned.
The past month has been one of the hardest emotionally for myself and my community… We have been witnessing pieces of our body and soul perished alive, we have been stripped of our humanity, and we have been forced to drown in our tears, suffocate in our aching hearts and breath and live this cycle of torture again and again. You would think that when someone has ripped your heart apart, burned it into ashes, dissolved it in acid then plotted and scattered it into the air…. that there is no going back, no healing, that an irreversible reaction has occurred…
But this morning…
And on my birthday…
Which I have been naturally dreading to celebrate…
I was taught that even irreversible reactions can be reversed and even the perished can be revived.
I woke up to a message with a video of a mother on a hospital bed: Huda Hijazi.
Huda was driving back from her village in South Lebanon with her three daughters (yes the irony of having three daughters myself hits home for me): 14 year old Reemas, 12 year old Layan, and 10 year old Taleen as well as her own mother: Hajji Sameera Ayoub.
Huda’s car was ripped apart and burned into ashes by an air strike from Israeli air forces and for some reason… some very odd reason.. Most of Huda’s body iswas ejected from the driver’s window and the rest was stuck under the car with her own children and mother burning inside right in front of her eyes.
I saw Huda smiling this morning, thankful and grateful. She was grateful that her mother did not have to experience losing a child, and her kids did not have to experience being orphaned, she was grateful yet she experienced - both.
Huda said: I knew my girls were not burning, I knew that the God that saved Prophet Ibrahim from the fire saved my girls and that she believed they went to the beautiful place they belong to- I feel at peace she said.
They say the worst pain is to lose your child, and the irreversible damage is to lose your parent, but today Huda taught me that you can lose both and still reverse that when you know that God loves you so much….
There is a word in English for a person that loses their parent: an orphan, but there is no word for a mother that loses a child. In Arabic there is both- ironically again: Orphan: Yateem, and Thakla (Mother that lost her child), Huda had to endure both: Yateema & Thakla.
God loved Huda so much to chose her for the biggest sacrifice because who else would have been so collected, put together, strong and solid for such a devastating tragedy.
And every person I know that wants to.
Huda’s words this morning, the smile on her face, and the purity in her eyes, took the perished ashes of my heart from the air and sprinkled them back into my soul, that today is a day to celebrate.
Today is a day to celebrate the strong and resilient men and women in my life who know how to win everything when losing everything.
Today is the day to remember that our role model is Sayyeda Zaynab and our compass of sacrifice is Imam Husain who said: “Knowing that what happened to me is for the sake of God, puts me at ease” after watching all his family massacred right in front of his face..
I used to always say these are Prophets, Imams, Saints, and Infalliables with super powers and levels of patience that we will never have but Huda proved me wrong, Huda reminded me that there is nothing bigger than God, or his love, or your faith in him..
Today I choose to live my life in faith that the best is coming no doubt, to celebrate the presence of those who added meaning to my life and chapters to my story, and despite all odds to celebrate myself for choosing to see the light at the end of every turn and the end of every tunnel… (Double Meaning Intended)