A Moment In Time
I spent last week here with a friend and our stay was nothing short of pleasant. We have been very fortunate in terms of weather because when we were there, it only rained at the end of the day, during maghrib onwards, while the sun was shining the whole day so we got to fully enjoy the day. Alhamdullilah. We got to enjoy beautiful, mild weather!
So on one of the days, after N and I had just finished breakfast, we decided to sit under the trees to read. It felt like a few hours have passed by but when we looked at the time, it was only noon. Both of us reacted in disbelief and dissatisfaction.
Me: “What?? It’s only 12 something?? So early!”
N: “It feels like we have been here for ages!”
And then I paused and expressed just how nonsensical it was to complain about this. Whenever time passes by quickly, we get all frantic and wonder where the time has gone. We experienced one of those rare occasions in our lives when time actually moved slowly and we had all the time in the world—why complain about this great blessing?
It also made me realise I’ve become so used to rushing through things that being in a state of anxiety becomes habitual and when I’m ‘relaxed’, I start to think something’s wrong. That day made me think a lot about all the times I go through wishing life would go by faster—I’m sure there are many others out there on the same boat as I am. I remember back when I was working full time, I had many of those days when I just looked forward to going back home to sleep or the weekends. Everyday was the same, I only ever looked forward to the next moment but never did I appreciate the present.
(I’m having a bit of a déjà vu moment because I’m pretty sure I’ve blogged about the same topic before)*
In fact, I lived that way for a huge portion of my 26 years of living. I was that way all throughout school—I was always looking forward to getting older, getting to the next grade, graduating and then being a working adult. During those years, I was always going through something I hated and instead of finding healthier, more creative ways to deal with it, I just wanted to move on to the next phase in life hoping whatever issue I was facing, would be left behind.
The funny thing is: now that I’m an actual adult, I’ve realised that adulthood can be dull, constricting and almost repetitive at times (I’m speaking on behalf of my life). Nothing is quite as dynamic and ever-changing as your childhood and teenage years. In the blink of an eye *boom* you’re a grown up with responsibilities and all of a sudden, people aren’t as forgiving anymore even though you still have a lot to figure out.
But here’s the thing: no moment in time is more significant as the present. I’m talking about right NOW, this very second. The past is gone and the future is uncertain, what’s certain is NOW.
Just ponder on the word ‘present’ in itself. This moment that you have now is a gift even if it doesn’t feel that way. There are always new things to learn about yourself, about life, about God and the world around you. There’s also always something to be grateful about: your family, the food on your table, your pet, a comfy bed, your health, your friends and last but not least, the sweetness of faith when Allāh opens your heart to Him.
There is beauty all around but sometimes we need to press that pause button, take a step back and express our gratitude to Him. It takes only a moment in time for your life to be turned completely upside down and in that moment, that’s when you realise you actually had it good this whole time, if only you cherished it. Ask someone who’s fighting a terminal illness or who have just lost someone they loved: they would tell you it only took a few minutes until everything spiralled and they wished they could go back in time.
We only ever realise just how ‘ok’ things actually are until we find ourselves in a more difficult situation—it’s always the same case. It’s like being stuck in a video game; every level gets more challenging and every time we get to the next level, we realise just how manageable the previous level was in comparison.
Whatever you have right NOW, you will bring forward to the next day. If there’s resentment, envy or disappointment in your heart in this moment and you go to bed without getting rid of it—guess what? You’re going to carry it forward tomorrow and for the rest of your life until you get rid of it. So it’s really important to ask yourself what is it that you’ve in your heart right now that you’re keeping until the next day?
Also ask yourself: what or who do I have now that I may not have tomorrow? Treasure all the blessings you currently have in your life because tomorrow, they may not be around.
When N and I reached Ipoh from Penang, the same situation happened again. “What? It’s still so early!” Then we quickly snapped ourselves out of it and reminded ourselves of the lesson we learned that fine noon under the trees and said alhamdullilah for the present.
Life is so funny, sometimes.