Thursday, December 10, 2009


Two things happened to me today.

The first thing was when I woke up this morning and found that we had a power cut. I rolled my eyes in irritation at the prospect of no light. I find it amusing now how that was the first thing that came to mind. No light. No power for my computer. No power? No Internet! I started to panic. My connection to the outside world has been severed. My window to the world. The means I have to talk to my family and friends. No electricity! I cannot even make myself a soothing cup of tea to calm myself down. No central heating! I will freeze in the cold and miserable English winter. I frantically ran downstairs to take a look at the power switches. Could I possibly magically fix the situation by flicking a switch? I looked around the kitchen. No toast. Our hob was electric so no dinner for tonight. Will the power cut last that long? I looked out of the window at the grey sky despite the time of day. It was still morning. No light. I sighed and realised all the things I had suddenly been deprived of. How fragile we are. Someone, somewhere had flicked the wrong switch or drilled into the wrong cable and here I am in the middle of a power cut. It was as simple as that. My thoughts went to the readings I had to do for tomorrow. I would have to walk to college and access the computers there instead. Another sigh. I took one persistent step after the other half an hour later as I made my way along the footpath. I wondered whether our neighbours had a power cut too. It was not until I was walking in town did I realise that the whole town was sharing my blues. Cafes with closed signs due to the power failure. Shops still open for business but trading in the dark. I smiled. It seems it was not only me who was concerned about the light.

Somehow I felt relieved. My malaise was everyone else's malaise too. Notional group therapy in a sense. Knowing that we are all in this together was a huge comfort factor. It did not change anything though. It only changed my attitude. Was that a good or a bad thing I wondered? Or was it just human nature?

The second thing that happened today was that my friend almost lost her laptop. We had been shopping in town and while she was trying something on, she had momentarily put her laptop bag down. At which point did she stop feeling the weight of the bag on her shoulder? How could she have the heart to just put her laptop down and forget about it, even if it was just for a moment. Why did she even bring it with her, such an important tool, to a shopping trip. Shock. Horror at the possibility that the pieces of her life saved and stored on her laptop would be gone forever. I felt the realisation rise within me as I rushed out of the house to search the shops we had been to together. Imagine if that had been me.

Incredibly, I found myself uttering gratitude over and over as I made my way to town, along with silent prayers that we find her laptop. It was not until the lady in one of the shops gracefully disappeared into the back room and came back out with the bag did my friend let out the hugest sigh of relief. I felt grateful too.

It is funny how we always, and I mean always, take things for granted. It really does not matter how close or aware you think you are to God. It does not matter how long and hard you pray or how dire your circumstances are. One can never thank enough.

"...and if you count the Blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them..."*

I found myself saying thanks but more importantly, feeling it. Thanks for the things I have been blessed with. Thanks for all the bad things that could have happened to me but did not. Thanks for this realisation. Thanks for this moment. Thanks for helping my friend today. Thanks for teaching me a valuable lesson in gratitude. Thanks for making me less aggravated by the ways of the world. Thanks for allowing me to wipe out any unnecessary aggrieve. It is amazing really how a simple thing like forgetting one's laptop in a shopping spree moment or experiencing a power cut can bring you back down to earth.

My newly found resolve is to constantly and expressly be grateful no matter what.

*Surat Ibrahim from the Quran [14:34]

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