Time for another truth-telling moment – this week sure seems full of it, don’t you think so too?
About a month ago during School Visit #1 where anxiety, palpitations and the like took center stage, over a phone call from home and a confession I made about hesitation, drama ensued; slight outburst, an angry sigh and long, awkward silence on my part. He passed the phone back to her, clearly displeased while I, as heart- and soul-searchingly broken as I was, stood my ground and held on to my beliefs.
Ah, adulthood, the gaps that you now divide.
She was kind, “I just want you to be certain of your decision. Forget the money issue, forget other factors. If I am to continue to work to obtain the money for you to realize your dream, I want to do it by knowing with certainty that this is what you want.”
That night, I held back my tears. In the bus ride to the airport over another phone call to Eldest Sis, I held back my tears again.
Looking back, it has been an eventful month – so much has taken place and at least right now, one major decision has been made. After School Visit #2 ergo The Dream School, I took a step back towards silence and shifted my priorities; I focused on finishing the term as best as I could and simultaneously, mulled over my decision by myself without any intervention of opinions from the who’s who in my life.
I am glad to say I came to my decision after lots of soul-searching, prayers and ultimately, surrendering an unknown future to a known God.
Then of course, the surprise offer that arrived just this Monday turned things upside down once more; back to square one, more soul-searching.
I am still trying to decide, swaying back and forth. No decision is a bad decision here and one in which I am extremely grateful about, but the consequence of declining one for the other is magnanimous; significant. Surely I need to think and re-think this over, don’t you think so too?
Last week in the madness of the spring break, the phone call away from home arrived; they’re currently in Mecca performing the umrah (a lighter fare of the haj). Notice on grades and spring break were shared, then exactly like the other day, the phone was passed on to him. “Talk to him,” she had said. Brief silence, snippets of meaningless conversations. Did I not attempt better in bridging the gap? More silence, followed by noise. Click, he hung up.
I understand the roots of his anger or rather, disappointment – where he’s coming from and why. Yet, on the cusp of adulthood right now, I’m equally aware that understanding alone is insufficient. I may accept things for what they are, sure, but it doesn’t mean I must and more importantly, will act upon them or that my own opinions or principles will change due to them. Perhaps what grieves me the most and has me stubbornly refusing to budge is the realization that his frustration and anger towards me are projections of his own roads not taken; what he wished he had had, but did not.
But my life… is not his. I love him, as any child would do towards her father, but my life is wholly mine to decide upon, make mistakes and ultimately, live as my heart desires.
We run around in circles and now we’re back to square one. I am leaning heavily towards my current decision of The Dream School, yet at the same time whenever I try to dismiss this other offer – the entire package keeps feeling too good to waste – that I’m unable to decline without flinching. They return tomorrow and while texts have been exchanged between myself and her in which she’d subtly tried to reason I stay with my current decision, I can imagine his reaction. I can imagine his habit of tsk tsk tsk, probably shaking his head at the thought of me.
I am his golden child, it is an established fact. This also means yes, I am aware just how much heartbreak I am bringing upon him in choosing to live my life based on my own decisions as opposed to what he thinks I ought to. However, regret is an aspect I fear so fiercely and know at least this much: it lies where his thoughts for me are. I cannot and therefore, refuse to walk that path. I pray he will eventually understand and accept this.
I know what he thinks of me, to a certain degree, when it comes to religion; I know he wonders and isn’t able to ascertain with certainty whether or not I am say, performing my prayers (I am) and doing more (I strongly believe I am actively trying). I know he wonders in this manner and it frustrates me because his perceptions of me about my supposed lack of faith and my own physical doings can’t be anymore polarizing. His worry is perhaps not that I have gone astray – he isn’t skeptic up to this point, at least – but whether or not I am actively religiously seeking and learning, being away. I want to say I wish he really does know better of me to at least know that my principles and faith are grounded, deeply embedded and therefore to trust, if not myself, what I know he knows, of myself.
To be honest, there are many moments in which I feel like intervening, proving a point or many. But I believe and attempt to live by the belief that one’s actions for religion aren’t something to boast and bark about; if they are sincere, there is no need to do so. Hence I held back my tongue yet again, relegating to silence instead. I’d attempted to correct him but I know how I’d come off instead – defensive.
Today, Third Bro implied the same perspectives. What else can I say? Ah, men. Ah, typical Malay men. I have no desire nor inclination to even be angry at his uncalled for and so obviously false statements about – guess who? – myself; my actions will speak for themselves to He Who Matters.
“Rather, I wanted to say that I don’t believe the attainment of jannah lies only in direct solah;
it was he, himself who taught me that being an Islamic teacher is not the only way to go about fulfilling one’s aspiration to become a better Muslim.
By that I strongly believe that indirect methods like aspiring to go further in education, taking great care in halal and haram, carrying out one’s tasks honestly, for instance,
are all examples of different methods
that lead to the same destination:
this strive and active effort towards the elevation of belief.”
Ah, adulthood, the gaps that you now divide.