When The Walls Fall

Dedicated to Trisha. I am very grateful to have her in my life.

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That little secret I kept inside

Like oxidizer with fuel, burst into fire

I thought it was all good,

That all was as it should,

Because if not, then what would I do?

 

‘How are you, dear’, she asked

‘Oh, fine,’ I replied

In the tense second that followed

We both knew I’d lied

Because believe it was no big deal, I tried.

 

But she looks into my eyes

Sees deeply, not only spies

That guilty selfish need to spill it all out

Just to hear her reassurances out loud

Because her opinion weighs more than a crowd’s ever will.

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It’s tough to be vulnerable and knock down your own walls

Piling brick after brick for months

Makes a building quite tall

Yet still I laid it all out, and let my soul shout,

Is this really for me?

 

With her gentle hands, she takes my heart

With her soothing words, she removes the doubt

With her beautiful smile, she radiates hope

With her earnest goodness, she extends a rope

And catches me before I fell, for I was falling, steadily yet abrupt.

 

That little secret I kept inside

Like oxidizer with fuel, burst into fire

Now I know it is all good

For all is as it should

Because if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.

~

(Written May.29/14, 9:05 – 9:20 PM)

A.S.

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(Not) Like A Fuse

You know that feeling of having survived an entire semester comfortably, and you’ve gone through 3/4 of your final exams when THAT sudden moment occurs in which you wearily wonder how on earth you’ll have the energy to do just that one more final exam? Believe it or not, teachers experience it, too… within the last two weeks of teaching. The following was written in THAT moment.

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After a laboratory activity in which my students observed the changes to a fuse filament under increasing current, I, too, couldn’t help feeling like a fuse myself.

Like the current intensity – the demands, duties, obligations, increased tasks, last minute requests, and rising levels of anxiety from my surroundings, have surmounted to something like a power surge – and I am about to be burnt out. Like a fuse.

Oh, but let me remind you what the function of a fuse is. It serves the role of protection: a fuse is placed in a circuit to protect in the case of a power surge. To prevent the light bulbs from breaking or other such damage, the fuse sacrifices its own frail filament by heating up until it breaks, cutting off the current flow.

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In a sense, a teacher is like a fuse. Except that unlike a fuse, a teacher is not replaceable.

It was that last thought that saved me; just as I was thinking “How much longer must I keep this up… I’m gonna burn out, like a fuse” – that it occurred to me I am so much more than that. I couldn’t be replaced, which meant I didn’t have the option to go out.

Which meant submitting to the idea that every teacher must eventually “burn out” is only true as long as one believes and, indeed, expects it.

Pressures likened to high voltages in the form of papers, deadlines, and even human beings – is that what it takes to burn me out? (Really, me?) If I am considering these as power surges, then that is only because I have my DC-current source all wrong.

Who better to keep you going, 

keep you working,

keep you glowing brighter without dimming the circuit components around you,

except the All-Mighty?

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This may appear to be a huge random leap in thinking, but this really happened. There I was thinking that a teacher is like a fuse, who burns herself out for the ‘protection’ of a younger generation – than God does not hesitate to make me laugh at myself.

All it takes is for I to take a step outside in the sunny humid weather outside, and become enthralled at the few sprinkles of cool water droplets falling from the sky… as though I am being told, “Chillax, kiddo. You’re no fuse on fire. If you were, this rain would’ve immediately put you out.”

And yet I still had that spark glowing brighter than ever in me, and all that the rain did was fill me with an indescribable sense of grateful joy.

Nope; God knew that I knew what I was getting myself into. And if He led me to it, He’ll lead me through it.

If I am to be compared to a protective device in a circuit, I would prefer being a breaker. At least those are reusable, resilient, as many times as it wills to be.

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“I’ll take a dandelion any day over a rose. Now that’s a flower. It’s humble, hearty, keeps coming back no matter what you do to it. And it always blooms a brilliant yellow smile.” (Mornings in Jenin, p.209)

That’s the kind of teacher I want to be: humble, hearty, and keeps coming back.

I am like a dandelion. Not like a fuse.

And Allah knows Best.

A.S.

 

 

Why I Read

cherry blossoms book

“All that is gold does not glitter

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring;

Renewed shall be blade that was broken:

The crownless again shall be king.”

(Bilbo, p.324)

sunshine book

In an age in which

the art of reading for joy is becoming something of a classic…

the sight of a child reading on a bench is close to an antique…

the tradition of storytelling for knowledge is slowly being extinct…

I still read.

 

So why do I read?

 

Reading fills your lungs with a magical oxygen that the atmosphere cannot provide.

Reading fills your mind with insights your textbook won’t provide.

Reading rattles the heart, word by word, letter by letter, as they all sink in.

Reading awakens fragments of your dormant self you had no idea you wanted to awaken.

Reading helps you find yourself amidst this chaotic world.

Reading fills you with a joy that materializes as a delightful laugh.

Reading brings life to the dead heart, and reminds the beating heart of the reality of death.

petals book

Reading combines hope, sorrow, love, despair, anger, bitterness, perseverance, patience and an astonishing array of other emotions into a plot and sweeps you off your feet with it.

Reading creates a sense of empathy, walking in another’s imaginary shoes, so much so that it feels almost bizarre when you have to put the book down and put your real ones on.

Reading opens new windows to the same world, so that you may see seemingly dull things as most beautiful indeed.

Books. That’s why I read them.

A.S.