I used to associate gratitude to success. Exclusively. Till failure came knocking and a reminder to be thankful for it came.
“Alhamdulillah ala kulli hal,” he replied as I texted him news of my failure.
“Alhamdulillah?” I had no idea how and why I should be thankful in the face of disappointment. I went ahead to Google what that ayat meant because I only knew of it vaguely.
الحمد لله على كل حال
All praise and thanks are only for Allah in all circumstances.
In all circumstances. To be thankful because He knows of the things that I don’t and because gratitude as a response was the best way out. The only way that would give me complete closure. And so till today, I am thankful for the text I received, for one which never belittled my efforts nor questioned them but instead taught me to gracefully accept defeat and to surrender. To be grateful for failure because there are reasons behind my failures, reasons that are unbeknownst to me. But just like how I anticipate the azan when I fast, I should go on living — with faith in His plans. There is a need to trust and surrender because there is good in that situation though it might not seem apparent as of now. Gratitude heals.
I also used to associate gratitude to grand gestures. I should only be thankful when I receive gifts, or when my prayers are answered. For when I witness miracles. But that’s where I am wrong. Things that I perceive to be ‘mundane’ could be beyond reach for someone out there and something that I take for granted, someone would die for.
So here are a few things that I have learnt to be grateful for, and may it allow you to see the abundance and blessings that you too have in yours.
I am grateful for this very life. I am alive and I am breathing and there are people who are no longer given the chance to be. So every day, I struggle and fight my demons to try and make the best out of the days that I have been bestowed to live. So be thankful for this life, because He is still giving us a chance to worship and to make amends.
For my people. For the people I call Ummi and Abah. For the younger brother I have. For the people I have around me who give me a reason to wake up and go through the day. A family unit is not a given and neither are good friendships. It is a chance and blessing — one that could be taken at any point of any day. So, Alhamdulillah for the family that we still have with us, for the people who raised us and for the people that care for us.
For education. As much as I drag my feet and complain to everyone around me as I travel from Punggol to Pioneer (read that again) for approximately an hour and a half on good days but two hours on most, I have come to realise that this opportunity to learn, at this very age is something that not everyone gets. Not every woman gets. Education is the key to growth, the more we learn the more we get to broaden our perspectives. So you know how the ayat mentions “in all circumstances”? All circumstances. Punggol to Pioneer. Alhamdulillah ala kulli haal.
For the one many (me included) take for granted and only know the worth of until it is taken away is our health. The ability to wake up, to walk, to eat, to chew, to swallow, to digest, to touch, to smell, to hear, to sit, to speak — it’s something that I take for granted. But the reality is that some people on this earth don’t have the privilege of doing these things effortlessly. There are people who are too sick to do the things that we don’t think about before we do.
And lastly, for failure. An outcome that I whine and refuse to come to terms with till I realise that I am merely a human, blinded from the reality of His plans — always a hit, never a miss. The harshness of failure and the emotions that come with it are unavoidable, but my reaction is something that I have learnt to navigate through better. Every single failure was written for me and so is whatever there is to come. Regardless of the outcome, Allah knows better than i ever will. Learning to be grateful for failure has made me manage my personal expectations better and to act on Tawakkul. To trust.
So, thank you Allah, for allowing me to live till today, for gifting me with this fully functional body, for blessing me with people around me who remind me of Your Greatness, for opportunities to better myself, for lessons that I can learn from and for allowing me to exist as Your servant in this world.
May we all strive to be grateful, to see the beauty in situations that would normally warrant a negative reaction and to always, always remind ourselves that “All praise and thanks are only for Allah in all circumstances”. The good and the ones that we assume are bad. Alhamdulillah ala kulli haal.