My Cup Is Already Full

In focusing on my everyday life I find that I can unconsciously tune out the world around me.  Maybe I don’t check my e-mails or my Facebook page for a day or two, or don’t watch the news on TV.  I am not trying to be ignorant of what’s going on locally and globally, it just happens.  But I wonder sometimes if I am subconsciously tuning out.  I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel good to “forget” about the suffering of others for a little while.  Why does it feel good?  Because when it comes to the suffering of others, whether it’s family or a complete stranger; I feel it.  It hurts.  And what hurts the most is the feeling that I can’t do anything about it.  I can pray, I can protest, write letters to Congress, etc; but I can’t stop it.  I can’t make it go away.  My magic wand just doesn’t work.

As I type this, I’m thinking about the uprisings in Syria.    The famine in Somalia. Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan… And to bring it all back to my own backyard, how about the rising murder rate in New Orleans?  It’s enough to make anyone close up shop on the world.  After all, my cup is already full, I have my own self and my family to care for and worry about.

But I always go back to the suffering of the world.  Why? Because I feel that is what Allah wants me to do, wants us all to do.  Even if all I do is pray, think, and worry, I’m doing something.  I’m staying engaged with the world that Allah created and I am staying connected with His Creation.  Allah created us to know one another, or at least to try.  To care for and about each other, even if we’ve never actually met.  Our compassion will never match that of Allah’s, and we can’t do anything without His Will, but if we care, if we feel that pain in our hearts, that pain that we can’t ease, then maybe we are doing all that Allah wants us to do.

Ambata Kazi-Nance

Ambata is a native New Orleanian and mother to a two year old son.  She is currently working on a master’s degree in English Literature. She has just started blogging at  MORmama.

  • Maha

    Beautiful reflection. I agree, I think we’re supposed to feel, even if it overwhelms us and makes us recognize our powerlessness at times. It makes our hearts softer and helps us reach out more to the One who has the power. At the same time, we should in whatever way we can fight that powerlessness and do something, even if it is minuscule, because maybe if we try hard enough God will honor us by using us to make His will happen.

  • suma

    AA Ambata,

    I agree…beautiful reflection. JAK

    At times I do block all suffering and misery that is happening in the world..It’s just too painful. I have to admit that I could not watch or even read about the suffering of the famine victims in Somalia… but I also feel that it is my duty to watch and read what is happening and to reflect on it which makes me appreciate and to be content with what Allah(swt) has given me…..and as Maha said to try and do something..even if it is “minuscule”

    We just finished reading “Half the Sky”..(very depressing and painful to read but at the same time inspiring and encouraging as to what can be done and changed by just one person with very few resources.

    As parents we need to make a conscience effort to raise compassionate,caring children that will feel a desire to help others and understand that one person can make a difference …..and also with the understanding that what is most important is our intention and effort…..the result and reward is with Allah(swt).

  • Marwa

    Thanks Ambata for this reflection. Sometimes it’s the feelings of helplessness that make us want to ignore what’s happening. But I think that frustration allows us to maintain a soft heart and so we must embrace it. May Allah reward you for this :)

  • Techie Muslimah

    Sometimes the only thing we can do is pray. Sometimes that’s the only thing we NEED to do.

  • Fatima

    Ameen. I completely agree that just reading up on and empathizing with these situations is a big leap forward for many people. May Allah reward you.