It is nearly a decade now. The episode of depression that I went through. I lost everything and I had nothing. The more I tried to swim to the shore, the more I was pulled over by the tide. In the end, I succumb to it. “What is the use of fighting?” I thought. At one time, I even chose to embrace all of my predicaments. I was too deep in despair that climbing out of it seemed so impossible. It seemed that I had to live with the heartache for the rest of my life.
I knew then that the only thing I could do was pray. I did. Harder than I used to. The tests that I was going through really brought me closer to Allah. I talked to Him every night and I cried. Actually, I did a lot more than crying. I sobbed and wailed. If only the wall in my room could talk, they would introduce themselves as ‘The Wailing Wall’. Some of the pain was too personal that I could talk about it to no one. Allah was my only shoulder to cry on.
I really wished I could be near Him. One of the ways was by performing umrah in Mecca. I wished and I prayed. Even though deep down inside I knew it was difficult. It was a clear fact that I could not afford going there, financially. There were also other extraneous circumstances that would hinder my plan on setting foot in Mecca. Trying to plan for a trip there was like finding a needle in a room full of haystack.
I shared my sad thoughts with a friend. She told me to be patient because she admitted, from where she was standing, she did not think I could live my dream of going for Umrah. She could only offered me words of consolation. This is a friend who knows every single misery that happened in my life. Silently, I agreed with her. There was indeed no way of me going there. Maybe even until the day I leave this world.
When I could not take the pain any longer, I decided to contact a private psychologist and arranged a meeting with her. I told her about all the things I was dealing with at that point of time but there were things that I chose to hide. Some things were better left unsaid because it was too embarrassing even to discuss it with a certified medical practitioner. I knew the meeting was not going to solve anything but I was really in need of a good listener who could perhaps provide me with solutions on how to handle my problems, rather than solving them.
We had the psychologist-patient conversation and then she gave me an advice which seemed so ordinary that it made me wonder, “Is this what I paid for?” I really thought that seeing her was a terrible mistake and a waste of time. She told me to go home and start praying again. At first, I was ready to argue with her because that was what I was doing. Then she told me to pick up the Quran and flip open to any page that my heart wishes. Point a finger and read the verse the finger is pointing to. “Consider it as a personal message to guide you out of the gloom,” she said.
I did not do as what she had advised me to do immediately. In fact, I took about a week to finally execute the psychologist’s prescription. It was not because I did not trust her and her suggestions, it was more to my ego getting in the way as I see her shared information as too plain and common. There was nothing special about it. However, I decided to still give it a try. Since I had lost everything in life, what was there left to be lost again?
It was on a Sunday, as I remember. After I had performed the last prayer of the day, I took the Quran and casually opened the book. I was holding a piece of guidance sent by Allah to our last prophet, Muhammad. There was a warm feeling that I could not explain. I was certain that it was not a feeling of sadness nor happiness. It was like something in between. I felt nothing. “Well, at least the feeling of pain had gone,” I told myself. I proceeded to do as what was told by the psychiatrist. I chose a page and bluntly pointed to a verse.
The verse I selected, “Oh you who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer, for God is with those who patiently persevere.” I stared blankly at the verse. “Is this a message from Allah?” I kept asking myself. “Surely this is not a coincidence!” And the rest of the night was filled with me sobbing like a baby. I started to remember the stories on how our Prophet was tested and had never once complained. Even though he knew that Allah would listen to whatever he asked for, he never grumbled. I should at least tried to be like him. To persevere. It might be difficult, but not at all impossible.
Fate. It is undeniably connected to destiny. Something that you cannot avoid no matter how hard you try. Just as how Allah had set the sun to be replaced by the moon and vice versa every day, that is how fate takes place in our lives. Days and nights. Somehow the sun started to shine and made its way into my life. I could feel the positive energy that it brought together and I started to smile again. A lot. My days were filled with laughter once again.
Despite the fact that I was in a mess, I met my husband and we decided to tie the knot. I consider him to be a gift and Allah had sent him to me to show that He cared about me as He had done all this while. We only present gifts to someone we care about and I knew my husband was the metaphor. There was nothing I could asked more for a husband as his love works like a magic that turned all my worries into joy.
One day, as we were having our usual conversation he told me about his plan to bring me to Mecca. He said he knew that even though I always looked cheerful, I was actually bleeding inside. He also knew that I had longed to go to Mecca and as he had promised on the day we get married that he will always try to make me happy, this is one of the ways to keep the promise. I was stunned and could not give an answer. This is an offer that I had waited for so long but when it finally presented itself in front of me, I started to have doubts.
I worried about all my sins and was thinking deeply whether I was ready to go to Mecca. Was I really an invited guest by Allah? I relayed these feelings to him. My husband smiled. “Are you going to say the same if Azrael, The Angel of Death comes by and is ready to take your soul?” His words felt like a slapped and I blushed. I had prayed to be a guest on the Holy Land and was so sure that I could not make it because of all the things that tied me down. And now I was offered to perform my Umrah with all the expenses paid for. Didn’t I complain that one of the burden that hindered me from going was financial?
At that instant, my mind was brought back to the Qur’anic verse that I pointed to and read that night. The night that was filled with hope. The night that changed my life and my perception towards life. The night that had taught me to just hang in there and let Allah who never sleeps, take care of me. I would never forget what that night had revealed to me. Persevere and God is with those who persevere!