Wednesday, June 18, 2003

break time, yay time, nap time forever!

Salaam, everyone! Sorry I haven't been around lately. Trust me, it's taking me forever to get over the traumatic experiences of the past few weeks...all that drama about finals and allnighters and papers and study sessions and more allnighters. And not nearly enough meals, yeah.

Things I Never Knew About Myself Until the Last Couple Weeks:

1. I can write a ten-page (well-written, insha'Allah) research paper in the two hours before it's due.
2. Energy drinks (even if they DO all taste nasty) actually keep me awake.
3. I could get addicted to Pringles.
4. It IS possible to go two weeks without sleeping in my own bed ('s all about the sofa, yo).
5. I can ace a midterm exam with minimal studying (yes, I surprised even myself, alhamdulillah).
6. I can go two entire days without eating a real meal, and not even realize (because I'm lame like that).
7. I am wonder woman.

I think there's a couple other things, but I can't remember 'em right now, so you'll just have to deal. But yeah, the past few weeks sucked majorly, which is why this little week off feels so awesome right about now. Just a few days left, and then I must begin suffering through six weeks of summer session 1. A mere weekend in between, and then six more weeks of summer session 2. Then another glorious week off, before the fall quarter starts in late September. Exciting, no? NO. It feels good to know that, for four more days, at least, my intellectual stimulation will focus less on textbooks and lecture notes, and more on what I should eat for lunch (and how many lunches I should eat). I'm enjoying it for as long as I can. :D

Yesterday, I was sitting around, chilling, gloating to myself about the fact that this one week off is my time, and, as such, I can do whatever I want. I don't have to write papers or study for finals or pull allnighters or stress about getting an extension on my overwhelming assignments. Instead, I can eat and sleep and sprawl on the couch and read piles of books and blow bubbles out in the courtyard whenever I want to. I was thinking, This week is all MY time! But it really isn't, is it? It's borrowed time granted to me by Allah, and most of the time I don't think I'm really utilizing it all that wisely. Reflecting on my goals for this break reminded me of that: "I need to clean my room." Ahhh, but I need to clean my life, too. "I need to straighten out my closet and dresser drawers." Yeah, but I also need to straighten out my priorities.

One of the things that illustrates this dilemma is that fact that I wrote a ten-page term paper for my religious studies class last week, about how Surah al-Fatihah, in a mere seven verses, ultimately underscores the essence of the Qur’an as a whole and exemplifies Islamic teachings. I mean, think about it...Surah al-Fatihah is known as Umm al-Kitab (Mother of the Book) and al-Asas (the Foundation) for good reason. It's the general groundwork for the rest of the Qur'an. If you really think about it, nearly every subject in the Qur'an is actually indirectly, generally referred to within Surah al-Fatihah itself: Allah's infinite mercy and the grandeur of His cosmic role; His protection and guidance; the gaping difference and asymmetric relations between those who are blessed by Him, and those who have earned His anger or who have gone astray, etc. Obviously, it's all laid out far more broadly and clearly in the chapters that follow. But I think Surah al-Fatihah sums it all up, subhan'Allah. So my dilemma? Well, I spent hours reading and researching and then writing this paper, and it still comes down to the sad fact that when I sit down to do du'a at mealtime three times a day, that when I'm in my car driving somewhere and doing my "long du'a," that when I snuggle down in bed late at night and run through my du'a once more, I still rush through Surah al-Fatihah and what follows it. I lose my place, my mind wanders, I start thinking about random other things, and when I finally come back to attention I can't remember what I've recited and what I haven't. So I start all over, and the same thing happens. Depressing, ain't it? I need to work on my focus and discipline. Insha'Allah, going to halaqas regularly (I missed two weeks cuz of finals) should help the focus/discipline issue, and planning out the whole Generation M deal in August/September should get me back on track in terms of channeling all this imaan. We shall see. Send some du'as my way.

It's a beautiful SUNNY day outside, alhamdulillah, so I'm going to grab my Miracle Bubble bottle and head out to the courtyard. Peace out, y'all.

Oh, and if you're not already subscribed to the MeccaOne newsletter, you should be. Trust me, they're not about to flood your inbox. They send out a small news brief (with ahadith, links, etc.) once a week, and that's it. And yes, i said small. I have a couple awesome things to post from that site, insha'Allah, but I'll hold off on that for now. Meanwhile, here's something I found while browsing the Sisters In Islam website:

10 Things We Waste:

1. our Knowledge: wasted by not taking action with it
2. our Actions: wasted by committing them without sincerity
3. our Wealth: wasted by using on things that will not bring us reward. We waste our money, our status, our authority, on things which have no benefit in this life or in the hereafter.
4. our Hearts: wasted because they are empty from the love of Allah, & the feeling of longing to go to Him, & a feeling of peace and contentment. In its place, our hearts are filled with something or someone else.
5. our Bodies: wasted because we don't use them in worship & service of Allah.
6. our Love: our emotional love is misdirected, not towards Allah, but towards something/someone else.
7. our Time: wasted, not used properly, to compensate for that which has passed, by doing what is righteous to make up for past deeds.
8. our Intellect: wasted on things that are not beneficial, that are detrimental to society & the individual, not in contemplation or reflection.
9. our Service: wasted in service of someone who will not bring us closer to Allah.
10. our Dhikr: wasted, because it does not effect us or our hearts.