What happens is, if ever I get a whiff of malice or misrepresentation, I vanish sometimes for unidentified periods of time, sometimes forever. Aalya says that what I do is disappear so that I might lick my wounds and heal on my own before I can resurface. Maxi calls it my Shut Off Valve, and it is something about myself which I dislike, and so something I constantly work to challenge when I feel it creeping around in the shadows of my mind.
Once my trust has been lost and a wound inflicted, my experience becomes black and white, rendering it near impossible for me to re-build trust with said individual. In the most extreme playing out of The Shut Off Valve, I have disappeared entirely from someone’s life without giving them the courtesy of a conversation. Devastating, I know.
One of the ways by which I am changing this about myself is to trust in God, and to trust in the protection of His Grace. Essentially, placing trust in Him, rather than in people.
For a while, I was struggling and could not face my prayer mat. Though I always knew I was being carried in His (metaphorical) heart, I could not bring myself to turn toward Him for a variety of reasons. I was extremely ill at ease while this was happening, always aware that there was something missing. That my best friend was not present because I had closed the door and left Him outside, though I kept peeking out from behind the blinds and looking at Him.
My friend Blue and I talked about this at length and he encouraged me, like a Nike commercial, to just do it. Even when I wasn’t feeling it, to just pray. And so on January 9th, I began my day with my morning prayer and have continued since, alhamduliLah.
Recently, I changed my position from “this is an obligation and a duty” to “there are five times a day where I get to have private time with Allah during which I can reflect and allow my heart to be vulnerable.” While I wouldn’t say that I am jumping with joy every time I have to perform ablution, I can say that the thought of saying Hia to Allah for a few minutes eases the lazy.
Back to the point of this article. There are 99 names for Allah in Islam, two of which are in the decal in the photo: “Ya Fattah, Ya Salaam.”
Al-Fattah means The Opener, or “He Who Opens all things.” While this has several meanings, the most important for me is that He removes all obstacles in our path. This is the essence of this name, and it is meant to be integrated all across the board starting with the physical obstacles in this world, to the psychological obstacles with which we struggle when trying to move ahead, and culminating in the removal of spiritual obstacles on the path to Heaven.
Returning to my issues of mis/trust, and keeping in mind Ya Fattah, I have learned to slowly shift my positioning from one of mis/trust in someone to trust in God. Trusting that He will remove anything and anyone who might devastate me, and also trusting that only placed in my world are those who will help me grow and learn, challenge me to become better, and who will do their best to never ever crush my heart. Often, I tumble and face dive into regressive thinking, but I usually catch myself early enough that I might take a couple of steps back and start again before it’s too late.
This shift also helps me lighten my load and my heart. To be in a constant state of mis/trust is horrible and it is heavy and hurtful to both ourselves and to those around us. To be in a constant state of trusting in God, however, brings with it a lightness and calm to ourselves and which — I think — is reflected in how we treat others and how they see us when they take a glance our way.
Al-Salaam means The Source of Peace. This one is self-explanatory, and it’s importance in my world and in my understanding of faith traditions as they are reflected in the lives of people should be obvious enough to anyone who has been reading me regularly.
“Ya Fattah, Ya Salaam.”
When combined, to believe in The Opener is to also believe that He is The Source of Peace. It is to believe that He will remove all obstacles which would bring anything but peace into our hearts and lives. The flip side of this is that He will open the doors to those men, women, and situations which will bring love and light to our station; doors opened for only those who would hold our trust and vulnerable hearts with only the greatest gentleness and softest care. Finally for me, it is to believe that everything happens for the best of reasons; that while the revelation of “why” may not be immediate in instances of trauma, the revelation will come eventually as there is Godliness in patience.
Though only time will tell, I am slowly coming to believe that this perspective is what will allow me to open my heart entirely and free fall into the arms of another, since to love can only happen when we trust. I imagine that this year will be a very interesting one unfolding…
Here is another photo of the decal, a little more clear in its size and stature. Being approximately 4 feet x 4 feet, it is a gorgeous addition to The Cloud Cave, and it gives me reason to stop and think and find calm when I may be otherwise disheveled. Additionally, it looks like there’s an ‘M’ (for Maha) at the top…which…I mean….how could I have resisted?
If you are interested in more Muslim art work, please pop by Irada Arts for a look and see.