I live in North Carolina, and like many states in the Southeast, NC is suffering from a pretty outrageous drought. To tell the truth, it's lasted for several years, but every summer they act like it's new. And then they start pulling out water restrictions. I remember some when I was in high school--how you weren't supposed to water your grass on certain days of the week, and only at night. That is, if you own your home. But if you are a big corporate office you're allowed to water whenever you like. That's how it seemed anyway.
So this last year, with increasing drought severity, the cities and counties imposed further water restrictions on their citizens. It took until October before non-essential car washing, grass-watering, etc., was stopped by state agencies!! I remember a few months ago a local TV station had their sprinklers on, but a sign up to inform scowling water conservationists that they were using well water instead of city water. As if that actually made a difference!
We get rain now--it didn't rain over the summer--but of course it's never "enough." Installing more efficient faucets and hoses, and constantly checking pipes for leaks is another way the local governments are trying to get the best use of the remaining water. But when you hear "45 days of water remaining" you think people would get a clue. I can't help but wonder what will happen when the water really does run out.
But imagine for a minute, an emotional well. A reservoir of hope, passion, love, and anger that typically remains balanced. And imagine a trying situation that sucks on that well, pumping out the last remaining drops--what's left? Have you ever felt depleted? That you gave all you had to something, and got nothing back? Feeling that your soul has just dried up? I haven't written in a week and the truth is that the last week has just been a very long stressful nightmare. With school over, my personal life decided to smack me around.
No, I don't mean my fiance; and truth is he has been nothing but calmly and patiently supportive through it all. So what happened? After I turned 24 on Friday, I began to be tested with problems I don't think anyone should ever have to suffer. To start with, I've become intimately acquainted with some of my reproductive organs. I'll spare my poor readers the details except to say that there is something red involved just about every single day since November 12th with increasing intensity, peaking Saturday night/Sunday morning, around 3-6am. Again, I'll spare the details. After that had mostly calmed down it hasn't been so bad since, but has come pretty close twice now, most recently Thursday morning. About time I go to the doctor, then, eh? Oh, if only I could. But I spoke to my sister this afternoon and she has been diagnosed with all of the following: endometriosis, adnomiosis, polycystic ovaries, and uterine fibroids. So which one of the following is plaguing me, or am I just stressed out? Or, all of the above? Garr. InshaaAllah will be seeing a doctor next week.
And the other problem... my family. Tuesday of course was Christmas, and I had decided some days beforehand that I was going to be there, one way or another. Unfortunately, to my family that meant that I was determined to ruin their Christmas and was seeking attention. In fact, I hadn't even seen some of them in over a year. I got a call while I was still in bed on Tuesday informing me that I was not supposed to come, I was not allowed to come, I shouldn't come... whatever. That was my sister on the phone and I told her I was going anyway, and I did. And I had to argue with her over the phone and her list of excuses as to why I shouldn't participate, then I met my mother at the door and had to listen to the same, and after going through her, my brother-in-law. He spent quite a bit of time insulting Islam and Muslims, insulting me personally, (again I'll spare the details because they are actually quite painful to me) and then I finally got in the house.
I can write all that in a few sentences, but the emotional toll was severe. And there was no quick recovery to allow me to really enjoy spending time with my family. The more I think about it, in fact, the angrier I become at all of them. Anger isn't healthy. But what they did was wrong, plainly wrong. I think excommunication would be easier. If I didn't fear being punished eternally for turning my back and severing ties, I would easily have done so. And standing up to my family that way was the hardest thing I have ever done. I recall a hadith which describes truly maintaining relations with family is not to treat them well when the reciprocate, but to re-establish ties after they have been severed. Being told I am not welcome is the same thing as severing ties, isn't it. So is showing up anyway re-establishing them? How can I keep reaching out when it only fosters hatred for them in my mind? I don't know.
But that well of love and affection and compassion for my family, has nearly dried up. There's nothing left there but mud--anger, and frustration, and sadness.