Photograph by Aya Salah.
I live in Montreal, and like most days, I woke up to rain today.
I woke up healthy but grumpy today.
And because of my grumpiness:
I missed my bus stop today.
I arrived to work late today.
I had a bad day at school today.
My silky hijab got soaked today.
My new expensive awesome sneakers got soaked today.
Today… was… dreadful. Of course I’d never been hopeful
Because when it rains, I know my luck
When it rains, I know my day is gonna suck,
And MAN… such a tough life I live
To live in pure eternal sunshine, what I’d give…
First world problems.
How we love to hate on things just simply to complain
Yet when it comes to bringing the sunshine in someone’s actual rainy life
Way too many of us abstain.
Won’t give a buck or two to someone on the street
Cuz it’s probably not gonna be the thing that gets them on their feet
So use up this money and buy a cheap coffee instead
Take a sip… yeugh… declare all quality is dead.
MAN… such a tough life!
Pretty soon I’ll think I’m from the thug life.
But all jokes and exaggeration aside,
Speaking first to my greedy self inside:
We think we have it bad,
Until we see who has it worse
It’s then we realize just how much
We have our priorities in reverse.
You should make a difference
Because that’s exactly what you’re here for
Yet most of us are great slacktivists –
Beyond Facebook and Twitter, we do nothing more.
Now, social media is important
Raising awareness just the same
But if hashtags is the most us privileged folks can do,
Then we are drowning ourselves in shame.
Whether it’s here in our local communities,
Or whether it’s far away somewhere there
Words need to be followed by concrete actions
And our emotions can’t be reserved only for certain people to spare.
Many of us can’t spare the change
And we can’t spare the time
Because we don’t think our small deed
Will impact the world in a manner sublime.
But if one’s motive is solely to sway the world,
Then it’s no longer about the cause, why –
It’s about you.
The problem with those who stubbornly stall
Waiting to act ONLY in guaranteeing big change
Is that often, sadly, they end up making none at all.
Makes you wonder
Where they got the notion
That they’re destined to be leaders of change
Without first going through the petty motions.
Don’t let it be about your ego
In an attempt to tell the world you could be a hero
Don’t let it be about you acting out of pity
But let it be about integrity, love and mercy.
If it’s for God, know that every deed you do
Be it the seed of an atom, is being accounted for you
And don’t think it too little, unless you can do more
And don’t think it too much, until you can give it no more.
Know that with every dime you spare,
With every smile that shows you care
With every hour spent protesting in the streets for others
With every good thoughts for your sisters and brothers
With every secret prayer that you make
And with every intention done for God’ sake…
You are making a difference.
And yes it’s hard to bear, and it nearly never feel enough
Few people have it easy, the majority have it rough
Yet did you really think for a moment that you and you alone
Could overthrow oppression and put justice on the throne?
Yes, it needs your commitment
And yes, it needs your wealth
But never forget God in the equation
For all our physical and mental health.
Is not the same God Who watches you here
The same God Who watches them there?
Is it not the same God Who has given you security,
The same God Who shall provide it over there, with certainty?
Let’s go back for a moment to the old you who complained of rain
And pretend your wish was granted such that the sun shone all day
Some of the land has become a desert, other areas not
It is so humid and hot, but despair not –
Verily with hardship comes ease
Maybe you’ll be chosen by God to provide some of the cool breeze.
The Messenger of God, peace be upon him, once said,
That the best actions are continuous ones even if small
We’re here together today, with good intentions, I daresay
Yet may we continue for the rest of the year to give it our all.
Verily God does not change the condition of a people
Until they change what is in themselves.
And Allah knows best.