Assalam alaikum & peace to all...
Well, been a while now and I have to write this chapter of my story...not only for myself (mostly though!) but for anyone else who reads this and has had the similar feelings or emotions. It was almost my one year anniversary of my reversion...should have been a happy time...a time to reflect on the year and see where I am in my faith...instead I took a downward spiral. I wish I could say why exactly this happened but to this day I don't know why and pray that it does not happen again. There was no 'big' event that pushed me into 'losing' my faith (well I didn't lose it, it just took a vacation). It was the new year and I had my big news to announce to all of my family that I was engaged...it was a happy time for that and soon after I started to plan for my wedding...which was a year away but would take some good planning to co-ordinate it all. I would like to say that my wedding planning took place of my 'religious' life...but saying this would be first untrue and secondly too shocking to admit if it was true. I threw myself into planning the wedding. I hardly looked at Islamic web site, never went back to that chat room I had visited so often (they even made me asst. manager at the site ~ although there were other circumstances that led me away from that site) just disappeared from my friends lists and sites. I felt horrible to do that to them all...I mean how hard would it have been to send an email saying 'ok, I need some time to myself and I won't be around for a while' but it seems it was hard because I did not do that, I basically 'fell off the face of the 'Islamic' world' and went back to my 'own life'.
I only realize this now that I had gone on overload...it was too much too soon and too much pressure...etc. I needed a break from it all. This break included in not offereing any of my prayers, basically I became 'relgionless' for about a good six months. I would feel horrible each day and week that passed that I did not offer any prayers...always promising myself that 'tomorrow' I will start new and try to improve. Well, tomorrow only came six months later!
I don't know how I managed to get the courage and strength (well, God gave it to me...but not sure of my thoughts at that time) but I started to recite the prayer words at night...just before going to sleep. I would lie in bed and recite the whole prayer ...I was only slightly startled when I realized that I had not forgotten it all! I thanked God that he had given me the courage to start slowly again. So little by little I progressed. Soon after that I made the leap and started to offer my prayers as I did before...actually better because I was offering the two nightly prayers...but the most amazing part was that I did not 'wimp' out of them! Usually I would find some excuse, 'its too late, the water is too cold, Im tired, Ill only spend 10 more mins on the internet (became hours) etc. Anything that I could think of! This time, I managed to defeat those thoughts and offer the prayer!
After establishing regular prayer again, I truly felt that I had gotten another chance at it all. I also decided that I would not 'kick' myself up and down for missing a prayer...now ok hold on I know people are going to scream at that and say ' But you have to feel guilty, otherwise you will never feel the need to offer the prayers and just fall back into neglecting it' ! Ok, yes guilt is good - TO A POINT ! Where I was before was a place where guilt had taken over my thoughts and actions so far that I felt I would never be able to come back to prayer. You see there is a line between guilt and disappointment. When you pass the line from guilt, you start your journey on a path of self-destruction. You make your guilt so great that you fall into a deeper pit ...this leads ultimately into disappointment, depression and hopelessness...etc. When this happens you don't feel like doing anything and just move on and not dwell on the guilt. I think its a way that your mind helps to protect itself...'I'm not going to think about it,and if I don't deal with it, it is not a problem' But that will not solve anything ...it will make it worse to the point that you won't see any way out of it! That is until you let yourself be human and understand that you will fail, over and over again! But if you trust in God, He will pull you up and out of those feelings. You have to realize that we were not created perfectly...our whole life is a struggle, but if you try sincerly to do the bestI believe that God will help you along the way to make it easier!
So, that is where I am right now....July 10 2006. I have come from up and down to just steady right now...let me tell you that I had missed prayer last night (yes I feel guilty ~ and will try to make up for it) but I am not going to beat myself up about it and make myself even lower because then these thoughts will come back 'well I missed one today, I probably will miss it tomorrow...so whats the point of offereing more this week...etc.' No, I will not let those thoughts come back! Inshallah (God willing) I have the strength to defeat those 'demons' and life my life to the best of my abilities.
There is the thought in the Muslim community that you should not reveal your sins...I can agree with that but the only problem with that is that people look like 'angels' and when you sin or fail in something you end up thinking 'why am I so weak..how is it that nobody else goes through what I am going through?" Well you know what? THEY DO...
they just do not admit it. I can only hope that some Muslims out there will see that admitting your sins does not make you weak...In my opinion it makes your stronger that you can say 'Yes, I have failed...but this is what I will do to correct it' And maybe, just maybe a lost 'revert' will see your struggle and have the courage to make a change as well!!
Thank you all who have read my story...(it was long ~ but it continues...everyday!) I hope that some have foundit interesting and thought provoking! (Well, I can dream right!) I wanted to share step by step what I have gone through. I have read so many revert stories that are more like a revelation...they never get in depth of how the person struggles...or comes to the message of Islam. Its not a lightening bolt or flash of insight...it is hard work!
I had just read a book about a revert woman and her struggles...I like the opening line from
it (paraphrasing it)
" dang it being a Muslim is hard work, and anyone who says differently is either lying or has
not realized it yet"
I leave with that...life is a struggle...lets pray that we all survive the struggle and come out
of it a better person!