What do you ask for?

My earliest gaussian-clear memory of asking my mother about powers of the Higher Power as it may be, was after I saw this TV series called “Out of this World”. It was about a girl whose father was an alien and she had the power to stop time. To the me of that time it was the coolest most amazing gift ever and I asked for it with most heart I could. I vaguely recall making my index fingers meet horizontally a couple of times (her mode of stopping time) after that to see if my “prayer” had been answered.

“Did you know whatever you want comes from Allah Mian?” asked my mother once, when I think we sisters wanted something and we had been told no. If memory serves correctly it was a Wendy house, elaborately made of wood at the time we lived in Qatar. We used to drive past that big toy shop and see it all beckoning and lovely in the window. “So we should ask Him and not you?” I clarified, a tad confused. “Will he tell you to get it?” I needed to know the logistics.

Fast forward to more years later when I asked my mother if God gave us whatever we wanted if we asked for it hard and true, even if it seemed impossible. I suspect, though I am not too clear on the details now, that some kind of heart matter was involved at the time. “Well, she said, weighing the response and trying not to smile, “if He thinks that’s the best you should have then yes He will eventually give it to you”. It was a committed non committal answer that made my conversations with God become more personal and what I think was a pivotal point in how I evolved in my connection with Him.

My system of belief has always been an almost childlike one- simple and straightforward. Maybe that is how I was initially introduced to religion and spirituality but the lesson has stuck. I shy away from the complications and aggressive status updates that are abundant and toxic now and I am interested more in feeding that part of me that applies the faith factor to living life as best as we can.

September 12, 2010. The day after Zo died. Ruby, my wonderful, loud, warm, and somewhat exasperating doctor, came in to see me. She was exuberantly dressed in a bright saree, with big earrings dangling from her ears and cheerful red lipstick. It was the day after Eid and the flurry of celebrations for us by then had turned into a flurry of arrangements for Zo’s janaza.  I was sitting in my room, waiting to be called to go to see Lily in the NICU for out few hourly visit. “You asked for perfect healthy babies, Sara” she told me, “and He always grants your duas no matter what. The only thing we can’t imagine is how He will do it so that it is the best way possible for us, and for that we must trust Him.” I don’t think I understood the full import of the words back then but they have come to revisit me many a times since then. It was probably the best and most comforting thing I had heard in those few days . It was true, I have it in my journal also from the night before I had them. The prayer for them to be perfect. To not suffer. I actually did not say I needed them both with me. Not in so that many words.


(Zo, from the day she was born.)

So after all this, what do I ask for? I still ask for it all of course; all that He wants to give me. And then I pray for the strength to be able to deal with it all because, us human beings, us tiny specks of dusts in the vastness of life, we have no idea of how much we can get if only we knew how to ask it right. One of the hardest things to practice has been to try to curtail what I think I want for myself, with the knowledge that what He may have in store will be better than my wildest imaginations. To leave it upto Him is both easy and really difficult, so I always put in a side note now, of what I would like  it to be, and could He please possibly make THAT the best thing for me. After all, we control freaks are hard to subdue.