A question that has been reappearing in various forms lately is, “What do you want out of life?”; it is usually preceded by, “Keep in mind, you’ve spent most of your life behind bars.” This question has caused quite a few bouts of intense meditation, and thought I might share the results.
The answer to that question has evolved a lot over time; in my early 20’s – money, late20’s – success, early 30’s – freedom. Now, my perspective is a little more in the long-term, and in my late 30’s, looking at 40 – having spent so many years locked up – my answer today is, Mercy.
In the Qur’an, speaking about wives, ” They are Libas[ body-cover, or screen, or sakan(mercy)] for you, and you are the same for them…” (2:187). What this tells me is that, no matter your lot, status, or possessions, what is important is having the right person(s) with you. Life is made better through the relationships you cultivate. When the right he, she, or they are present, there is a constant shield from whatever life has in store.
I didn’t understand the value of a good relationship for the longest time, mainly because I’ve spent the majority of life alone. If I don’t take into account my questionable childhood, I’ve still been left to take care of myself since I was 14; in and out of juvenile institutions, fending for myself, then on the streets at 16, all of my relationships were about trying to survive -which makes for some very unhealthy choices. I never knew Mercy; I didn’t know how to give it, or even what to look for.
Islam taught me about Mercy; how to give it, and how to receive it. Now that I know what it is, and what I’m searching for, it doesn’t matter if I’m released tomorrow, or I do 15 more years, Mercy can transcend it. It is the key to happiness.
Knowing what I know today, all I truly want out of life is Mercy.