How To Get Back Up When It All Falls Down

We’ve all been there at one time or another. Where is ‘there’? ‘There’ is the proverbial down and out, on the edge, at the end of your rope, barely holding on or simply holding on by a thread cliché we give to the struggles in our life when we’ve neared the breaking point.  When we’ve reached that period when we would just like to roll over and fall asleep; maybe not forever but long enough for this moment to pass. Just until the pain goes away. Just until the hardship that we’re dealing with ceases to exist.  There. A destination we know all too well although we’ve never planned to visit or quite figured out how we arrived in the first place. If you need a more concrete analogy, it’s comparable to finding yourself looking at the inside of a toilet bowl after a drunken stupor, when the last thing you remember is asking for one more shot while dancing to Beyonce’s Drunk In Love. Needless to say, not a good look.

Before we get to the scene in which we’re snuggling beneath a thick brown blanket ready to take a few tablets of Unisom for the long hibernation, let’s rewind a bit. Let’s go back to the day when we initially began to panic. It was an ordinary day. We woke up and began our normal routine, whatever that may be, and went about our typical pursuits. Everything was fine. Actually we were having an exceptionally good day. We smiled at our co-workers, didn’t yell at the guy who zipped in front of us during the throes of evening traffic, and I’m especially happy to say we didn’t even cock an eyebrow at Donald Trump’s latest verbal  assault on whichever unassuming group he’d chosen to target for the moment. Life was good. We were sure that nothing would dampen our stride, words of wisdom from grandma Rose in the back of our mind reminding us that no one was going to steal our joy. Uh uh! No way! But something or someone did, and we had no control over it. We never had control of it. To quote Kanye West, suddenly and ever so swiftly “It All Falls Down”.

The world as we knew it just moments before seemed like days ago; weeks even. Maybe we saw our spouse downtown with someone other than us, the ATM stated our checking account had insufficient funds after we bought the latest red bottoms as a personal birthday gift two weeks prior (cha-ching!), we received that call from our child’s school notifying us that their had been an “accident”, or we learned that the company we’ve been employed with for over a decade has decided to downsize and we are among the first to be cut down to size. It happens to everyone. The situation will not be the same because we all have our own individual struggles but it’s guaranteed to happen. Allah (swt) says:

Most certainly you will face tests in your wealth and in your persons . . .

~Quran 3:186

So who’s the first person we call? Perhaps it depends on the situation. Our mother? Father? Best friend? Maybe we know that they would not necessarily be of any benefit in this particular instance so we call the bank directly to ask for a refund on the overdraft and late fees because we’ve “never been overdrawn before”. Or we request to speak directly with our employer because after all we’re the person with the most longevity and have been loyal to the company since day one. We soon learn that the financial conglomerate has a strict policy that they do not give the customer back any money no matter what the circumstance. Never. As well, the owner of this multi-million dollar company does not care about the years of service we have given, we’re a liability now. In order to keep costs down they must let us go so that we won’t have the opportunity to collect on our retirement benefits in a few years. Life sucks. We’re not able to pay all of our bills, disconnection notices and OPEN IMMEDIATELY envelopes are flooding the mailbox daily. We finally give in and call our family but they are grappling with financial difficulties too. Our friends have gotten ghost and won’t return our phone calls, or even worse, reminded us that we haven’t paid them back from the last time they loaned us money three years prior. The walls we have constructed for ourselves are slowly closing in and we succumb to the gentle nudge of surrender. The white flag has been waved.

{Brown blanket enters stage right.}

We’ve reached out to all of our resources. No one has come through for us. Nothing we have tried has worked. It’s about that time for us to admit defeat. We’ve failed. Again. So we lay down for the night trying to stay warm because the gas has been temporarily disabled and surreptitiously begin worrying about what the next day will bring. How will we cope? What to do? The tears begin to flow in a slow repetitive fashion as we consider how we ever let ourselves get to this point: down and out, on the edge, at the end of our rope, barely holding on, simply holding on by a thread.

And we will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient.

~Quran 2:155

When all else fails, as natural as a river flows into the ocean you begin to pray. Not only do you pray but you have a conversation with Allah (swt). You share with Him all of what is in your heart. All that He already knows. You’re exhausted from the work and effort that you exerted in order to seek succor from those in this world, while in the end He was simply waiting for you to come to Him. To ask Him. You relieve your heart of your burdens and finally feel at peace with allowing Allah (swt) to take over. You finally submit to the One who deserves your unabashed devotion.

A new morning dawns and it is the same as the one before. You still have no lights on in the house and the repo man could come at any moment to haul away your unnecessarily expensive four door SUV. The cold morning coffee unsettles your stomach a bit as you sit down and watch the sunrise between the trees in your back yard — smiling. Waiting.

And you’re good with that.

 

Say: “Who is the Lord of the heavens and the earth?” Say: “Allah.” Say (also): “Do you then take for guardians, apart from Him, such as have no power to bring benefit to or avert harm from even themselves?” Say: “Are the blind and the seeing equal, or are the depths of darkness and the light equal?” Or have they assigned to Allah partners who create the like of His creation, so that the creation (that they make and Allah’s creation) seem alike to them (that they cannot distinguish the true Creator?)” Say: “Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is the One, the All-Overwhelming.”

~Quran 13:16

My beloved, all that happens is within Allah’s plan for you. Know that if you were to seek assistance from Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg or any among those considered to be the wealthiest people in the world they would not aid you except by Allah’s permission. So seek Him first and foremost in all matters, before venturing to the creation, for He is the one who knows your heart. If He bestows a hardship upon you it is only to draw you nearer in order to close the chasm that has manifested from your own actions.

Strive with patience, aware that Allah has got your back.

 

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