Monday, December 13, 2010

personal thoughts: on dealing with Omani inlaws

I am one of those people that likes for everybody to like them, and not to hurt anybody. This is impossible, I know, but I can't help it. I am just that way. Like that quote from the first page of the famous Ernest Hemmingway novel, 'For Whom the Bell Tolls', taken from the John Donne poem 'No Man is an Island':

Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in Mankind;
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

I want everybody to be my friend and to think good things about everybody, as if in some childhood idyll before the kids in the playground got mean and would to choose to leave out other kids. I truly believe I can feel another person's suffering as if it were my own, if I think on it enough, so why would I ever want to do anything to other's that I would not want done to me?
As Eugene V Debs said, so much more eloquently than I:
While there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prision, I am not free.
But life is not fair. I often refuse to accept that, but it is a fact. Not everyone will like me. Not everyone will think of what causes them pain, and certainly not what causes me pain.
Right now, some people hate me without knowing me. That happens when you marry into a culture not your own. You accept it, if you are smart, you expect it, but it still doesn't kill the sting of the betrayal of finding yourself condemned without reason, reviled for nothing you have done but try to live your life doing as little evil as possible. For knowing you are the same no different, and yet... There is a divide.
But I have decided, that as I had promised myself and MOP to take all that is good from a culture, and leave all that was bad of it, I would do the same from my own. All knowledge is worth having, and all truth does not grow untrue, and I find this prayer, no matter its source, very wise, and though I have always known it, I did not heed its advice always in my life:
"God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change,
Courage to change the things we can,
And the wisdom to know the difference."
I cannot control what people will like and what they will not like. I cannot control what they think or how they feel. I guess, I am just finally wise enough to know the difference;).
What I can control is this.
I can live my life doing my best not to hurt anyone intentionally as a rule in my striving for happiness.
I can hope more than I fear.
I can pray more, and regret less, for Muslims believe Allah/God loves mankind more than a mother loves her child, or a man dying of thirst loves the taste of water.
I can breathe and be blessed with that breath, if I remember that it is mine to choose with, and maybe then I will whine and complain less.
I can try to talk less, but to say more.
And I may not be able to control the feelings of those who hate me, but I can decide me, what I feel for them.
Instead of anger, I can be understanding and have patience, and instead of hate, I can love them.
A wise woman who we'll call K (Andy, she is Christina's mother:) ) once told me,
"Never ask God to give you patience, because then He will try you with all kinds of troubles, because only harship breeds patience.
But pray instead, that He give you the strength to love all of mankind, as He has."
One very smart cookie, K is! mashaAllah. And it is the Qu'ran says:
"And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allâh (i.e. this Qur'ân), and be not divided among yourselves, and remember Allâh's Favour on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His Grace, you became brethren (in Islâmic Faith), and you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allâh makes His Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.,) clear to you, that you may be guided." -Q.3:105
"O Men, We created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may KNOW one another (NOT THAT YOU MAY DESPISE EACH OTHER)."-Q.30:22
The Messenger of Allah (saw) also said, "The believers, in their love, mutual kindness, and close ties, are like one body; when any part complains, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever." [Muslim]
And "The faithful are like one man: if his eyes suffers, his whole body suffers." [Muslim]
And in all of this, to enact it rightly I suppose, is patience, and effort for understanding, and resisting to retalliate for any harm or unjust insult. I guess that is the only way to deal with anyone with a preference for an ignorance, because to do anything less, is to be numbered involved in the ignorance as well.
Ameen to K's prayer.

1 comment:

Umm Aaminah said...

Salaam sis. I am sorry you are going through this; like you, I am easy-going and expect everyone will be the same. It is disappointing when it doesn't happen and unfortunately, I think many converts face this when marrying into a different culture.

I know when I married Abu Aaminah his family did nothing. No gifts, no food. Alhamdulillah. They liked me for my potential as a doorway to the US but not as a sister.

I am very much looking forward to meeting A's family however. They are really funny and outgoing and are eager to meet me. Finally I might get an extended family!!!! Amin!

Ma salaama....