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How Sarah Got Her Appetite Back

May 24, 2012

A short while ago, I was happily whittling about my life until my inner world came to a screeching halt. For reasons too complex and private to recount, I was forced to face myself in a way unlike ever before. There was a torch beaming into a dark, cobweb-infested basement I hadn’t let myself think of–much less enter–for a long time.

I had nowhere to hide. I had to contend with a demon, one I had avoided for too long, one that planted itself firmly in front of me and refused to stop tormenting me until I fought back.

And I did. For several days, I walked around ashen faced, prayed with as much conviction I could muster, employed superhuman strength to go out, get some sun, enjoy some company, so I could remain sane. I’d start most days by forcing myself to stomach spoonfuls of cereal so I could make it through without passing out.

Then one day, the pain hit a whole new level, causing me to instinctively plunge down into the emergency supply of supplications. I kneeled over and repeated: “Innalillahi wainna ilayhi rajioon.” Over and over. Then I made the invocations for anguish on a rosary. And as I said it, I felt terrible, so terrible, it could only be rock bottom.

There was nowhere to look but up. So I did.

From some place I did not know existed, something started flowing freely in my thoughts: God is merciful. God is compassionate and He loves me. God is generous, the source of all Good, and will give me Good, Insh’Allah.  

I was stunned, but I kept going. I was also wary that this was just a temporary euphoria, some mechanism to give me relief so I could be prepared for the next wave of pain.

But as the light grew, I recognized the thing that seemed so unfamiliar at first: hope. A voice steadily told me what to do, how to handle myself, how to move on. It was like looking down and realizing that the pain was emanating from a phantom limb. I still hurt. I’m still human. But I finally saw that this trial had not been in vain, and that there was a way forward. I didn’t get absolute answers, but I finally got the sense of direction I needed so badly.

A few hours and some more prayer and reflection later, I felt something else, something on a more carnal level: I was jonesing for a sandwich.

And that was how I started eating again.

“Alhamdulillah” doesn’t really cut it, but it would be a start.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 28, 2012 7:14 am

    I’m sorry to hear about your struggles, but am glad to hear that the hope is there and that you’re moving through it. Always so much easier to bury things and move on but always gets us in the end doesn’t it? All the best and my thoughts are with you.

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