You know that feeling. That once in a while feeling that “I’ve got this under control.” I’m on time, ticking off items on a checklist, there’s a bounce in my step, I have the right attitude, and everything’s where it’s supposed to be. Except when it’s not.

I lump all the times when life does not feel right under the category of ‘heartbreak.’ I’ve been here quite often, and the more years that go by, the more forms of it I recognize. It comes and goes, sometimes visiting for an unpleasantly long amount of time. When we face this, mothering, working, being a wife, and balancing it all with spirituality gets difficult, to say the least. One sinks into a gloom of mechanical tasks to get through, mostly lacking proper motivation or spirit.

The causes of this predicament, ‘heartbreak,’ can vary from the sting of decisions made that are too late, or life events that are out of our hands, a death or sickness of a loved one, a problem in one’s relationships or with one’s children, or a feeling of uncertainty about the future. When these heartbreaks happen we feel completely out of control. There is a shift in one’s paradigm regarding what was envisioned for the future. This, however, is a matter of perspective. We were never totally in control but allowed the feeling of relative comfort and predictability in our lives momentarily. This can be a dangerous place, because we know all too well that this is just a mirage.

For me, there have always been certain situations that have hovered over me, and everything I do. I often wonder if everyone has these challenges. Finding peace amid these situations is learned. They may never go away, but one learns to live with ghosts eventually, and how to be at peace with them.

Lately, I have been faced with sicknesses of some close friends. Particularly cancer. I feel like it was only yesterday that I said my goodbyes to a dear friend, and prayed at her janaza (funeral prayer) along side my children. Shortly thereafter, we prayed another janaza for a dear co-worker at my Islamic School. Now I come face to face with cancer in another friend. Our children played together this past summer, now here we are battling this disease together just a few weeks later.

How quickly and drastically this world can spin out of control. How easily we forget that through all of this, Allah is always there, next to us, that all of this heartbreak was meant to happen. We are supposed to learn to live with ghosts, even embrace them. They have to be there, born in our pasts and living alongside us in our present to show us that we can move on with them. To illustrate for us that we can face the unimaginable, time and time again. So that we can move on to the next challenge, even when it seems that life’s challenges won’t ever let up.

We need to prepare for the worst, but always, no matter what, expect and sincerely trust Allah and pray for the best. We need to play with our precious children, be loving spouses and dedicated workers. That’s where the hollowness and distance may threaten to set in our eyes. That’s ok and it will have to do for now. He is watching us, has prepared us well, and will not forsake us. Oh Allah, bless us and ease our burdens.

Mona Abdala

Mona is a mom of two young daughters who lives and works in NJ and is passionate about all things expressive. She is also a teacher, fine artist, and photographer.

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