You Are Ethereal

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Essay

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This is a message to anyone who has ever struggled, with anything: You’ll be okay.

Sit back and remember; Allah loves you, a lot. You were born with a fate written for you, and you know that. You are alive, you are breathing. Your heart is beating against your ribcage, your cells are quivering, your blood cells fighting and rushing to deliver oxygen to every part of you. Your brain pulses with emotion, with thought, and with chemicals. And your body is fighting to keep you alive with every passing millisecond. Whether you want it to or not. It is decreed as such.

Focus on your surroundings. Is there carpet reaching up to cushion the soles and heels of your weary feet? Can you feel the fabrics of your clothes wrapped around your limbs? The stillness of the air that fills the room? The solidity of the walls that contain you? Or, if you are outdoors, the never-ending world stretching in every direction, sitting in wait for your discovery?

Think. There is a bustle of community webbed out from the latitude and longitude where you sit. The nation, trembling on creaking stilts. The world, never fully submerged in darkness or completely immersed in day. The sun, lashing out with fiery tendrils that, over light years, elongate into gentle rays of sunshine like the ones that rest against your cheek. The stars, hurling themselves from each other in fury, flinging elements every which way. The nebulae, swirling and spitting unearthly dusts and residue. The fabrics of time, and space, and cosmic energy, stretching and warping fluidly, sculpted to whichever mold Allah whims it to be.

Now return to the miniscule, quivering cells, of membranes and mitochondria. Chromosomes working at top speed to ensure your being. Remember that your cosmic insignificance means nothing to them. Remember that your life is their top priority. Remember that it is decreed as such. There are about fifty to seventy five trillion cells in your body. There are more than seven billion people who are made of the same cells, just like you. Every chromosome is full of DNA, bound and wrapped around itself a million times. A single rung on the ladder could be your downfall, if amiss. And yet…

Now, look at yourself. Realize that you are amazing. Which favors of your Lord can you deny? Does the complex and multi-faceted manner by which you exist not fascinate you?

All of this and you still think nobody cares about you?

You’ll be okay.

You are made of clay, simple clay brought to life. But your soul—your soul and mind and heart embody everything that is you: the things you love, the people you care for, the words you read, the speech you blurt, the colors you favor, the quotes you are in awe of, and the places you go. Your laughter, your tears, your aspirations and accomplishments and flaws… they make you who you are. Your soul is a billowing, shifting collection of you, just barely contained by skin, muscle, and bone. Even now, in this lifetime, we are barely holding at the seams, so with every breath, your soul escapes into the air and longs to return to where we belong.

The manner by which your body holds your soul is akin to that of how the universe expands, expands, expands. Your soul is expanding, and you are growing, you are learning. You are learning to play a connect-the-dot game where you draw your own constellations and paint your own nebulae.

One day, we will return to He whom to which we belong, and you won’t be restless anymore—for this world is not our home, nor our final destination—it was never meant to be. Surround yourself with what makes you thankful that you are living, breathing, being. Chart your way back home, don’t lose sight of the straight path, don’t lose sight of how much Allah loves you and how much you love Him, don’t lose sight of the stars that guide you home.

You’ll be okay.

9 Responses to "You Are Ethereal"

  1. This was beautiful. Very well written and more importantly, encouraging. Jazakumullah khair.

  2. Aaliyah says:

    SO amazing, mashAllah. Absolutely beautifully written and truly what I needed just now. Thank you.

  3. Fatimah Waseem says:

    I’m convinced I’ll be okay, insha’Allah. A powerful piece that made me feel part of something bigger and smaller at the same time. Keep it up!

  4. Saba Nasir says:

    MashaAllah, awesome work, Raadia! I think this piece is so unique. My heart was literally hammering against my rib cage while I was reading probably because of the overwhelming scientific realities. However, after each paragraph there’s a reiteration of “You’ll be okay”, which I thought was so ironic because the emotions that were building up within me were contrary to being okay. But subhanAllah, the last paragraph pacified me so easily; It gave perspective to our being, to the millions of complex things around us – No one’s here to stay, we are all gonna return to Him subhanahu wa ta’ala.

    For a short essay to affect the reader’s feelings in such a way, I can say this is an exceptional piece of literature! MashaAllah. BaarakAllahu feeki! :)

    • Raadia says:

      Sorry about that! I suppose the kind of things that comfort a person vary from person to person, huh? Thinking about my place in the world has always comforted me, but I can understand why it could be a source of panic for others. Ameen was iyakum. :)

      • Saba Nasir says:

        Yup, you are right about that. :)
        For me, reflecting upon the universe and other scientific stuff has always been intimidating. Y’know, makes you feel very tiny and helpless. But ultimately, it’s a reminder of your Creator, to Whom you are gonna return to, and that’s comforting. SubhanAllah. Allah guides whom He Wills through different ways.

  5. Arif Kabir says:

    This was beautiful…mashaAllah. My favorite line: “Can you feel the fabrics of your clothes wrapped around your limbs?” Hit home, particularly since it reminds me of the ayah in Surah Baqarah where Allah says that a spouse is a garment for the other.

  6. nadhirahzamrose says:

    touched and a great reminder to my tired self :)

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