Formatting Note: As with yesterday, should you keep swiping past the words, you will often find more photos from the day on which the piece was published.
“I look at you and say to myself – I never want to harm this woman. I never want to see you hurting or in pain because of something I did.”
When he made this commitment of character and integrity, he meant it. And he tried, to the best of his ability, to be this man.
For a while, he delivered on this promise.
And though he broke other promises, it was the breaking of this specific one which drove me away from him.
When I think of him with anger and blame, I feel my heart brittle; this, not my natural resting place. Today is one such day and so I have to write the following to remind myself, and to remain soft toward a man about whom I cared such a great deal. It would be a disservice to myself to think ill of him, ever.
My deen demands that we believe –
When someone does harm, they are only permitted to say I made me do it.
When someone has harm committed against them, the harmed only get to say God made them (the person who harmed) do it.
Without question, under no circumstance is a Muslim permitted to fault God for their own bad choices. Meaning, though we extend the benefit of this to the behaviours of others, we are not allowed to do so with regards our own selves.
It is in this way that the harmer takes responsibility, while the harmed keep their softness. Because we don’t blame God, but trust that He does Best. Whereas when we fault and blame humans, these beget anger and anger is not a purified state of heart for the one harmed.
Sidebar: An extension of this is that though it is demanded of me to provide the gentlest heart, my deen also demands that I safeguard myself to the best of my intention and ability. Which is why, in this very real case, I am to equally refuse his access to me in all ways while he remains in his circumstance. Because I have knowledge of past behaviour which harmed me, and no present day confirmation that he has changed his circumstance, then granting access to myself means opening the door to more harm. And that, in keeping with the above, translates to I made me do it; I made me harm myself.
I would be lying if I told you this was easy. Today, for example, it was near impossible; all day, I have struggled to sofen this piece with every new iteration. To remind myself and to soften myself, so that I might find my peace amidst the anger.
Like while snorkeling.
Because I needed all of the purification offered by salt-water this day, I swam until my fingers were as creased as the lines on the face of a 130 year old. My eyes are still blood-shot and the salt-water is kinking my hair in the messiest curls, reflecting my own road to healing – it is never as elegantly or simply done as in a straight line.
Today, I am grateful for:
1. The sound of water.
2. Warm salt-water swims.