Patience is a very strange thing. I realized that for most of my life, I never truly understood the definition of patience. For so long, patience was simply waiting in line, waiting to get picked up, controlling road rage- basically patience with others, but as I grow older, patience has become a different challenge and has taken different shapes and forms. Patience has become holding back, its become a battle of cluttered thoughts, it’s become an exercise in tawakkul, and it is an everyday struggle, more often with the self, rather than others. It no longer remains a theoretical concept but in reality, has become something that practically requires a redirection towards Allah, a conscious redirection of thoughts and a physical redirection of the limbs to submission in sujood. And this is not always easy.
Also in regards to patience, I’ve realized that patience is a very key component in our own spiritual journeys and this realization came once I moved here to Dallas, TX for the Dream Program. Starting this new journey, I have been blessed to encounter such incredible people, some of our teachers and mentors,- so accomplished, so knowledgeable, so kind, and so much more spiritually mature and at one point I felt frustrated with my own self- why couldn’t I be like them? Even though it is definitely inspiring to be in such an amazing Muslim community with incredible people, I came to realize that I started to become less patient with myself and with my own progress. And in these cluttered thoughts, I had to step back and remind myself that everything takes time to grow, to blossom, to mature…even spirituality. Spiritual growth is a process that takes work, discipline, and consistency and isn’t something that always happens overnight.
I think sometimes we start to expect too much from ourselves, sometimes we rush and rush to simply jump from point A to Z but cultivating faith is a journey. The path to Allah is a journey and we as individuals are all on different places on that journey. Islam isn’t necessarily a state of just being on a point on that line but rather it’s a state of becoming, of always trying to inch and move forward on that line, on that path, closer and closer to Allah. And realizing this and internalizing this requires patience, self-compassion, self-forgivness, and hope.
It’s also worth mentioning that when we have so many social comparisons or people we admire, we have to remember to not just aim to be like their best. Aim to be your best realizing that it may not be equivalent but pray and beg Allah that He makes our tomorrow’s “best”, better than our “today’s” and that we continue like that until we meet Him.
May Allah make us people who are patient not only with others but also patient with ourselves and allow us to always grow in our iman and make everyday be a step forward on that path towards Him. Ameen.