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Beauty in the Hardship: A Lesson on Gratitude

I knew this life was temporary, but the divorce really showed me the true nature of this life. The thing I thought was most permanent in my life, ended up being temporary.

I knew this life was temporary, but the divorce really showed me the true nature of this life. The thing I thought was most permanent in my life, ended up being temporary.

2021 was the most trying year I have ever encountered. Going through a traumatic divorce at such a young age, my health was declining because I couldn’t get myself to eat, and my anxiety had reached an all-time high just thinking about my future. I stopped talking to my family, I did not want to see my friends, I felt hopeless and full of despair. My world came crashing down right in front of my eyes and I could not find a single thing to keep myself going.

It was unlike anything I had experienced before. I did not anticipate it, did not prepare for it, and in an instant, it happened. I was at such a low point in my life yet I still had to drag myself out of bed every morning and continue on with life. For me, time stopped during that time. But life kept moving on, regardless of if I could keep up or not. Weeks full of dread passed and I found the pain of this world to be unbearable.

Sometime after this turn of events, a phrase said by the Prophet’s granddaughter, Sayeda Zainab, kept replaying in my head. After seeing her family brutally martyred in the Battle of Karbala, she was asked how she found these events to be. She replied, “I saw nothing but beauty.” She praised Allah (swt) and showed contentment with His plan. I pondered about this concept constantly. How could she see beauty, of all things, in such a horrific event?

It was the embodiment of patience and gratitude for God’s divine plan.

Advice for Those Going Through Divorce

As time passed, I started a gratitude journal. Every night, I would reflect on small things that I was thankful for and what brought me happiness. It was odd at first. I could not stop thinking about the direction my life has gone in. Something so drastic had happened and I could not stop wondering what the future had in store. I told myself to stop fixating on the big picture, focus on the small everyday details that we tend to ignore.

After doing this on a daily basis, my anxiety was slowly decreasing. I started to feel a sense of sukoon (tranquillity) in my heart for all that had happened in the past months. I had gone through the worst thing I could possibly imagine for myself, yet by the grace of God… I was alive. I was safe. I felt more resilient than ever before.

This life is a test. As perfect as my life seemed before this year, I never intended to go through it without struggle. When I encountered the agony of heartbreak I tried to remind myself: Verily with every hardship comes ease. (94:5).

Overcoming the battleground of divorce

With time, I understood I went through something that, in the end, was best for me. I would take the lessons I learned with me, and grow from them. It was through the tears where I could fully appreciate times of joy. Where there is no rain, there are no flowers. I was content with what God had planned. 

In this time, I learned about the harsh reality of the world. I knew this life was temporary, but the divorce really showed me the true nature of this life. The thing I thought was most permanent in my life, ended up being temporary. With this realization, I understand that even the sadness and pain I feel will also be temporary. It gave me a new worldview and for that I am eternally grateful. Sooner or later, the ease came.

Of course, the grief never fully disappeared, I still have extremely tough days and painful moments. But I began to shift my focus to the good things in life, the small moments of happiness like seeing the leaves starting to change colors, laughing with friends until my cheeks hurt, or the feeling after building a piece of furniture.

I urge everybody to take a moment in their day to truly appreciate all that you have. Better yet, take a few minutes out of your week to begin a gratitude journal. Take the difficulties day by day. You may start to see the beauty in them.

Note: I would not have been able to make it through this without the Compassion of Allah (swt), my dear parents and sisters Manizeh, Alizeh, and Reha, therapist Dr. Rania Awaad, and loving support system. Thank you.

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