Thursday, 23 March 2023

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Auntie Najwa and Her Colorful Lexicon :)

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Ramadan Mubarak, Dearies!!
I miss seeing all my family and friends these days, although I am getting better and better and this internet thing. Sometimes you can teach old dogs new tricks … or rather old aunties how to participate in a Zoom call and have discussions on social media. I am particularly enjoying CAIR’s Wednesday and Sunday online Facebook webinars. Who knew there was an organization helping Masjids address the requirements of people with special needs? Well I do now! What an inspiration! We need good news of good deeds – and the continued fight for everyone’s rights – particularly now.
In this month, during which we get to reflect on the mercy and justice of Allah, it is important to also remember that He gives us not only mercy but also the ability to do what is in our power to fight for justice and make the world a better place in our own way, even if we feel powerless at times. I, for one, have realized how much mercy and support I receive on a daily basis – not only from God but from the people around me – physically or now also virtually. And how good I feel when I get to reflect this support back into the community.
Being confined to my four walls, I’ve become aware of all the things I had taken for granted – like stopping by my favorite market when picking up the kids from school and having the owner, Ahmed, cheerfully upsell me on his wife’s delicious foods. I never have to ask him ‘what did your lovely wife cook today’ - he always tells me right when I walk in the door – and can never resist. But I never ask him how he is doing – not really - and I don’t really answer when he asks me. I’ve taken on the American platitudes of “How are you” – “I’m fine – how ‘bout you” – “Fine” … when I know full well that just cannot always be the case. But we’re too busy to even really ask – so it’s “Everything o.k.? Great.”
No … I’m not always great. Sometimes I can barely hold it together. There are days when I don’t feel like putting on my pink granny sneakers … but I don’t want to burden others. I don’t want them to think that I am weak. I am Super-Najwa! Always in a good mood and full of energy because that’s when I think I can help people the most. I want to be an inspiration and a rock for my family. But I don’t always feel that way inside.
This quiet time has made me realize that it’s better not to pretend – better to show our children that’s it’s o.k. to not always be on top of the world. Better to teach them that they are cherished no matter how they feel and that it is Allah’s mercy and grace that will get us through. Every time.
And maybe … the next time I see Ahmed, I will have the courage to really ask him how he is doing. Really ask him. And then listen to his answer and really answer him honestly when he asks me. I mean … there is such a thing as ‘too much information’ … I’ll use my judgment. And will try, really try not to be too much of a ‘buttinski’ (Oh yes, that’s a word … I found it right next to my picture when I googled myself … no idea why … I must have relatives in Russia).
Speaking of which … usually I conclude my column with “eat something, you look thin” because that’s what my auntie always said to me. But you don’t look so thin any more … the Iftars have been good to you. Just so you know … this isolation thing doesn’t mean you can’t go for a walk … and you might want to lay off the baklavas for a bit … and now I’ll butt-outski.
Until next time,
Auntie Najwa
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