change, and…chai?

I’ve been out, taking breaks from the computer, working on my classes, my kids, my friendships, and so I have let my blog go to weed. Oh well. I just moved (AGAIN) and so there’s been a lot of change going on in my life. Which leads me to my first post out of my long break…on change.

Change sucks.

I mean the type of change that happens when you are “in the groove”, smooth sailing, and then bam! Smack! Out of nowhere you are forced to veer off course. You get to thinking, “Now, things were going so good, why this? Why now?”

But then you adapt, you accept that things always happen for the better and you deal.

Kids are cool like that. We are constantly traveling and so my father used to ask me after we took a long trip and then returned, “Does Abdullah miss everyone? Is he feeling sad?” and I’d realize that no, he could care less. Like water off of a duck’s back. If only we could be so resilient!

Change also got me to thinking about the old adage: It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.

The bitterness of abandoning the life you love, the people you love, the routines and habits you love, is made easier by the sweet memories that they came with. There are certain things that I just can’t do now. But I still get a kick out of thinking of the things I have done in the past, and look forward to the day when I get back into enough fitness and health to do those same things again. I think about the many places I visited and people I have met, and am left smiling at the thought of having known such wonderful people.

I once met a wonderful Palestinian woman in the last few months of my stay in Jordan. Overnight, we became close friends, laughing and talking, crying and venting late into the nights as our husbands vainly called us to break up our meetings so they could sleep. When it was time for us to return to America, I was so upset that we had met only weeks ago, and now we would likely never see each other again. It was a sad departure, but I still feel so fortunate that I had known her. I only benefited from her company and friendship and the memories will stay with me always, bi’idhnillah.

I have done about five or six long-distance moves in the past 7 years (since I have been married) and each place has its own charms, memories, and quirks. Perhaps I have just been destined until now to really live the “life of a traveler” as the hadith tells us (“Live in the world like a stranger, or a traveler.”) And stranger? Don’t get me started on that, I’m sure that I have been thought strange more times than I can count, but that’s another story…

In a way, I have liked my life. My husband and I have basically just relied on each other to be the rock in the storm. We move in, root, then uproot and move on, and nothing stays constant but each other. For six and a half years we haven’t given up our routine of post-dinner chai, and after almost six years of not finishing my mug, I’ve learned to just make us one cup and we share. Two children have been added to that routine, but even 3-year old Abdullah knows that you don’t mess with Mama and Baba’s tea time. So some things don’t change, thank God, and that’s what keeps the ship sailing well. We create our own stability through each other, and that means that we cannot just sink into our own separate lives and take each other for granted.

Even now, the way things are looking for us, we will be in our current location for a few months, then move to a neighboring community for at least a year or so, then back to where we are now. So I look forward to that chai-time to keep our family laughing, learning, and living together, no matter what comes and goes around us.

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