|I don't even have a DVD logo to watch or anyone at work that would get this joke.|
Don't worry, things are looking up.
My counterpart and I both trying to meet each other halfway, and a lot of it is just about listening to and understanding each other. As part of my "Mending Fences 2012" plan I asked if she wanted to walk with me to the Friday prayer today. This must have been a good call because she got excited right away and even blew off her kids who weren't at school today, telling them to walk to another mosque from their house on their own (big step for her) and we trotted off together down the avenue.
We bonded over sharing some of our family history and then teamed up to protect each other from some scary hoodlums who were yelling at each other on the sidewalk. After the prayer, she bought some apples and oranges plus two cantaloupes from the guy selling produce out of his van outside the mosque, and we declared ourselves better armed for the walk home. She agreed that we could easily fend off anyone messing with us by hitting them with a bag of heavy fruit. The extra weight I was carrying made the walk more strenuous and therefore better for my exercise requirement so everyone was a winner today! When we got back to the office, she gave me an apple which was totally yummy and I felt like I had the first healthy snack at work in about a year.
Health Tip of The Day: Harboring negativity toward others is worse for you than smoking. I just made that up. But it seems true. It's so stressful to hold a grudge and so easy to let it go if you just build some rapport with the other party. Try reaching out to that "difficult someone" today!
I promise I didn't plan this out, but I just realized that the khutba (sermon) at today's prayer was also about listening and understanding. But Sh. Jamal was talking about the Quran rather than other people. I couldn't really take notes while he was talking but a couple of things stuck in my head:
He said that hearing and listening are two different things. When it comes to the Quran, you need to hear it with your heart and listen with your brain, then use your intellect to reflect upon it. This can't be done if you've lost the connection to the Quran and it's just become something you recite as a habit or something playing in the background while you carry on with life.
He also mentioned that the Quran, and as an extension the religion, were not sent to entertain us. Some churches may innovate in order to hold the attention of their members by adding music, dancing, and all sorts of other attractive activities to their services but this should not be the way of the Muslims. We don't have nor do we need members. If we're bored with our worship then we're doing it wrong. The Quran was sent as a guidance and a warning—we should heed the advice in it and strive always to live up to the example of the prophets (may Allah's blessings be upon them all) who were sent for the same purpose to all nations.
I ask Allah to bring me closer to Him through my study, memorization, and recitation of the Quran. I ask that he protect me from those who turn away from His book so that I may not become one myself.
On that note I am going to start a new surah tonight so I can stay on track with learning 5 new ones before Ramadan. I think I will do At-Takathur next because of the valuable warning against chasing the glitter of this life while forgetting the next. We all need that reminder!