Tuesday, June 30, 2009


My tomato plants are doing well so far this year. There are three together in the middle pot - that other pot is just supporting one of the plants so it doesn't drag on the ground. Just thought I'd share that. :)

Yesterday and today I was at North Middle School working on Understanding by Design aspects of the curriculum writing work for 10th grade mathematics for the district. In the bathroom in the school's library, a little sign hung on the wall that said,

"Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end."

I really liked that idea. I don't think I'd say it is universally true; for example, an evil person's ultimate fate might not be 'okay' in some sense. But I think it is more true than not and a good perspective on our daily pains, disappointments, and losses.

It is a virtue to be content. Sometimes it is harder than others - sometimes our needs are really not being met and we struggle with illness, loneliness, financial troubles, injustice, or whatever. No matter how great someone's life appears to be, all of us know pain - wealth, health, talents, fame, etc., notwithstanding. I have come to believe that no matter our circumstances, it is not so hard to be content unless we feel helpless/powerless/hopeless.

Hopelessness alone is, I think, the eater of peace in one's heart.

“...and despair not of Allah's Mercy; surely none despairs of Allah's Mercy except the unbelievers” (Yusuf, 87)

True hopelessness occurs if we no longer believe in the possibility of Allah's Mercy. If we, for example, convince ourselves that we will never find a mate, or that we will never get a good job, we are precluding the possibility of something beyond our expectation from Allah swt. At the same time, we struggle to put ourselves in balance with whatever the will of Allah swt may be - maybe it is not our fate to have a child or to get a promotion like we wanted to. But maybe something else, something ultimately better for us, is in store. Shouldn't we then always be living in a state of expectation for the mercy of Allah swt, that next surprise twist that ends up being wonderful? May Allah swt help us to attain and maintain that state.

Do people think they will be left alone saying: We believe, and not be tried? And certainly we tried those before them so Allah will certainly know who are true and He will certainly know the liars. (al-Ankabut, 2 & 3)

What would the point of our living be if we are not tried? If we are never tried, then we never grow. The disappointment I feel now makes me more compassionate to others facing similar situations in the future. It makes me better, insha'allah. And that is far better than getting everything I think I need or want.

What defines a person is how he handles disappointment. Great scientists, inventors, and so on generally experienced many severe failures before ever achieving a success. But that success only came because the disappointment of failure didn't destroy them - it didn't make them quit, wither away, or define themselves as failures or victims. So perhaps we can take a lesson - a disappointment or failure is opportunity. It is opportunity that hurts, sometimes a great deal, but probably a bigger opportunity with bigger potential benefit than something that comes easily.

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