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  • Adib Jalal

Between Now and New

We all got here under different circumstances. You may have charted your own path to this point, you may have been washed up here by the waves, or you may have woken up one day and inexplicably found yourself in this strange place. This my friend, is the space between the now and the new.

As you stand at the doorway of these two places, you can't help but wonder what lies behind it. Through the gap underneath the door, you get a glimpse of what lies beyond. It sounds like peace, and it smells like joy. It seems greener on that other side, like a vast expanse with an abundance of all that you have been seeking. You know that it has its own tribulations, but it still seems better than the now.

I have no way of telling you what lies behind that door, but it is probably not what you are expecting. It is also probably going to warm your heart and break it at some point, but that's okay because that is what being human is all about. All we can do is to be graceful and grateful in not knowing what is behind it.

At the threshold between these two places, you may have questions like I did. Am I stepping into a good thing, or am I stepping out of it? Am I coming back to myself or am I going away to discover a new part of myself? Is this starting over or is this the next chapter? As I discovered later, there are no wrong answers because there were always other doors in the new place for me. Doors that would lead me to places that I would never have seen if I didn't walk through that first one. Doors that would lead me to the people I never knew I needed to meet. And doors that would lead me to lessons that I needed to unlock the next one. It is all in the wisdom given to us in the Qur’an, “You may dislike something although it is good for you, or like something, although it is bad for you” (Al Quran, 2:216). And how do I know that there is another door to walk through? I am still alive.

Take it from this strange man with calluses and scars that you need to be careful with what and who you bring along on this journey. Be full, but be light. Know the difference between a weight that will keep you grounded and the weight that prevents you from soaring. Know what gives you strength or takes it away. Explore the contours between moving forward and leaving things behind. Decide what to keep and how to keep it.

Then at some point, you will be on your own. The white space you will encounter on the other side can be both a canvas or a vacuum. It is exciting and uncomfortable and in the fervour of filling it up, don't forget the breathing space that you craved for in the first place. Fear and shame will want to follow you through the door but only you get to decide who to let in. But I know you will be brave and confident with the knowledge that “God does not burden any soul with more than it can bear” (Al Qur’an, 2:286).

These words of mine came from the path that I’ve been on. Yours is and will be different and you will write your own words for others someday. Be on your way now. I’m just going to be hanging out here for a bit more to catch my breath before I continue along. Till the next time we meet, or we don’t, be kind to yourself and others. I pray that you will have the audacity to choose love and hope despite knowing that disappointment will still find you on this side of the new. I also pray that you be given the guidance to make good decisions, and the wisdom to see and choose it when it comes your way. It will all be ok. As the wisdom before us goes, “What is destined will reach you, even if it be underneath two mountains. What is not destined, will not reach you, even if it be between your two lips”.


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