A few mornings ago, whilst walking to work, I happened to walk past a row of dumpsters that were lined up on the sidewalk. The stench was hideous. Even after wrapping one end of my hijab over my nose, and rushing past, I still found myself gagging!
Then not more than 5 meters away I was walking past an orange blossom bush. The scent of that had me slowing down and lingering and filling my nostrils with the almost intoxicating fragrance.
It left me having thinking very profound thoughts for the rest of the walk to the office. We constantly see despair right next to hope. We hear of mosques being vandalised and then little boys donating their savings to the clean up effort. We see refugees fleeing wartorn lands by their thousands, and then selfless volunteers who are helping! We feel the extreme heat of a scorching sun in the middle of an African summer, and then the night brings terrific thunderstorms which quench the Earths thirst. We find contradictions in every aspect and in every direction.
This is not unlike parenting! One moment we might feel defeated, exhausted and have just had enough of hearing the children bickering about a green pen or some other thing of insignificance or another homework assignment or overdue library book…and then they walk up to you and surprise you with that hug, a ‘thanks for lunch mummy’ a smile that is so sweet it lifts your heart.
Life in general, plays out as the mindset you choose! The choices you make, include the thoughts you want to focus on. The rest of that day I could have recalled that hideous stench, which would have left me feeling sick, or remember the fragrance of that beautiful tree, which left me smiling. Same with my children, I can focus on the moments they’re testing boundaries and being assertive (see what I did there? Putting a positive spin on it 😉 ) or I can choose to focus on the expression on Little Mans face when he aces a Math test, or little Miss joy when I say she can lick the choc brownie bowl clean!
I choose the moments that make me smile! And since doing so, its been a ripple effect, the more joy you focus on, the more magic seems to happen. And thank goodness for that! Because despite being late this afternoon, instead of shouting at the kids to get in the car, I stopped to ask what was so fascinating, that they had to stand at the fence crouched over. It turned out to be this amazing butterfly with a wingspan the length of my palm…And we almost missed it!
Optimism is the attitude of a believer!
The Prophet (saw) said, “Strange is the affair of the Mumin (the believer), verily all his affairs are good for him. If something pleasing befalls him he thanks (Allah) and it becomes better for him. And if something harmful befalls him he is patient (Sabir) and it becomes better for him. And this is only for the Mumin.” [Muslim]