By Karin Friedemann
TMO Contributing Writer
Surely God Who gives the dead earth life will raise the dead also to life. Indeed, He has power over all things. (Quran 41:39)
As I scrape the ice off my car, I find it hard to believe that Spring is almost here. The world around me has been cold and grey and uninviting for quite some time. Yet the time has come to start thinking about planting seeds. It is also time to start thinking about what I want to do to expand and improve my life, using my resources, with my love, now that the period of constriction is passing. Sometimes this might mean spreading out and trying new things. Other times it means staying where you are but growing taller by digging your roots in deeper. If you had lost hope in the past, maybe now it will be your turn to shine. It can’t hurt to hope.
My children have been pressuring me to get a house. They feel cramped sharing a tiny apartment and they want their own rooms! At first glance it seemed to me that, given the rent I am paying, I should consider buying a home. But then I did the math and realized that even if we shared the expense with another family, it would be much too much of a responsibility to maintain and heat a large house. Plus, with two of my children in high school and possibly going off to college soon, and dreaming of senior year trips to Europe, it makes no sense to go into debt. If my son wants a house, he can start working and saving for his own future home. That’s his dream, not mine. So after exploring my options I am now content with my decision not to make any immediate changes. You can’t always know if something is good or bad except down the road. Best thing is to keep an open mind and don’t rush to a decision.
There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit.
“Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.
“Maybe,” the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses.
“How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.
“Maybe,” replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.
“Maybe,” answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
“Maybe,” said the farmer.
While remaining open-minded, it is still wise to dream fully and completely irrationally. If money were no object, what would you want to do in the next year, in the next ten years?
It’s good to say, “inshallah” while making plans, but when we pray, we are supposed to just ask God for what we want without any inhibitions. We should conjure up a pure vision of what we truly want, what would make us truly happy, and ask God to let it happen. God loves for people to ask for what they want. If the prayer is not answered in this life, your beautiful vision still serves your benefit in the hereafter. There is purity in the honest wish for a true desire.
We should dream and make plans for what to do in the coming months, by ourselves if necessary! For too many years I have waited for someone who wants to do things with me and stayed home for no reason. Our children will only be young once. Are we going to spend every day working and sleeping and sitting on the computer? Or are we going to get some sand in our shoes? Even if we don’t have any money we can take a walk in the park.
Spring fever is when you just can’t sit still in class anymore. Spring is all about going outside and shedding extra outer layers, both literally and figuratively. We will probably visit more places, and see more people. We will go on picnics and day trips to the beach. The possibilities are endless! It is a good time for marriage, when all the fruits are ripe. Are there any actual priorities left undone? Passports expired? Start there, with some spring cleaning and some basic projects.
This morning I heard a bird sing for the first time in a long time. It was more like a loud angry squawk. Another very important essence of spring is rage. The seed is so frustrated that it bursts. Without a certain level of passionate discontent, there is no growth, no life. So do whatever makes you happy and alive. Envision what you imagined that you would be doing when you are older, now that you are. Whatever is constricting you from your full potential, rebel against it! Be whole! Be free! Take total responsibility for your life and seize what you want out of this day.
Starting small, my spring resolution is to fill yogurt cups with organic potting soil and plant herbs on my windowsill. Maybe some sewing projects, bake some bread. Maybe I will learn to harvest alfalfa sprouts or make yogurt. Soon the flowers will be blooming, and so should we. It will be time to fly a kite, to go fishing. Have a great day everyone! The sun is shining!
Editor’s note: Karin Friedemann is a contributing writer for The Muslim Observer. Her views are her own.