Sunday, December 15, 2013

Blessings in Disguise

Friday marked the final day of the first semester of my college career. As many of you may already know, I haven't had a great semester. In fact, I can recall more negative experiences looking back at these past four or five months than positive. It hurts to even think about it.

I had some pretty serious health scares, and my parents had and continue to have even worse. I had really bad luck, and I made some life-changing mistakes. And of course, all of these had an impact on my academic performance in college.

I reached an all-time low, both physically and emotionally. Happiness became a rarity. I felt hopeless, lost, scared. I faced trials I never thought I would have to, saw and felt things I never wanted to, and went through experiences that I will forever try but never be able to forget.

Yes, I'm only 18 and yes, God-willing, I have plenty more of my life to live, but I felt and feel even now that these past few months were the worst I've ever lived through. It's more than failing tests and car accidents and illnesses -- it's the pain. It's the memory and it's their consequence.

I've tried to take solace in the thought that maybe all of this was expected. But I never could have expected to go through all I did in such a short time. Honestly, I expected the opposite.

I realize now that I can never take solace in expectations. The only consolation is faith. The only comfort is in knowing how each and every trial and tribulation I've been through is a blessing.

It was easy to complain. It was easy to seek sympathy and empathy and pity. It isn't easy to move on. It isn't easy to view misfortunes as blessings and remember my privileged status.

The fact is -- I have to. Some experiences were so tough that I'll probably even always regard them as the worst I've ever been through. What I can't do is regret. What I can't do is not move on.

I'm not the most religious person but there's a Qur'an verse that always hits me whenever I recite it. In the chapter titled 'The Beneficent', this verse is repeated multiple times after listing the many blessings we enjoy in this world: "So then which of the favors of your Lord do you deny?"

Yes, times have been tough.

They've been tough for me, you, and everyone else. It hurts to think about it that way, and it is easy to not. But the truth is -- each hardship is a blessing in disguise. Each disease, sorrow, sadness, hurt, distress is a lesson to be learned.

Each misfortune is an opportunity to grow into a better person.

It's easy to lose hope, and I did. But now, I look back at my recent past not with regret, but with wisdom. I look at my scars as stories.

I look at this recent past as the best thing that could have ever happened to me.

I look at my future with hope.

Stay blessed.


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