Here’s a thought, our lives are centred around losing those we love. Imagine an old man, newly retired and free. What are his memories? What had he experienced and now with death fast approaching, what is the one truth (other then death) he can hope to be convinced of? Mother. He loved his mother when he was a kid, slept by her side when the thunder frightened him, hugged her when the kids in the playground hurt him, whined to her when a new toy attracted him, yelled at her when she tried to discipline him and yet in that stage of childhood he had never once considered the possibility of losing his mother, forever. Nor his father. Nor his grandmother who always used to spoil him. Slowly he grew older, and older, and older. The years flashed by. Degrees littered the bedroom wall of his expensive New York apartment and awards clogged his desk.
Then his mother dies. Then his father. The two people he had spent a majority of his life with, the only two people who he knew genuinely cared for him. He had brothers and a sister, the best of friends and constant companions. He loved them and they him and all were like flowers in a bouquet. But time came. Reality jumped in and they separated. His sister married and went her way. His brothers left for lucrative careers. They still loved each other dearly, but continental borders now separated his family and that love soon mellowed. Such was also the case with his closest friends.
Such is the arrow of time.
He married as well, to the love of his life and they had three beautiful children together, children that were the coolness of his eyes, the jewel in his ring and the completion of his life. The time he spent with them in between the long hours he worked (to feed them) felt truly special and in that stage of life, he would never dream of being separated from his children’s love. But soon, they grew as well, into strong, healthy men, independent and confident as he had been at that age. And they married or went their separate ways. The love remained. But it was never the same again. Soon the only thing this man had left was his love who he had spent decades and decades with. She would not part with him. Never. Of course she did. Death took her.
The man reflected on his life, successful, fulfilling, complete. Yet as he revisited his memories – the collective thoughts and experiences that make us who we are – he noticed that eternal pattern of loss as if it was some unwritten law of the universe. All his ties – his high school, now a supermarket, his college, now unrecognisable – had been separated one by one and so it shall be for all his offspring and all other human beings in the world.
Life is composed of losing and all we have to combat this are our memories, fragments stuck inside of us to remind us of what was and give us hope of what will be.
Such are worldly ties and affections, they are bound to be separated and lost through death, distance or disaster. Yet this man now sits and contemplates his life asking himself: what tie lasts forever. Who watched me in my mothers womb and stood by be when I was 3? Who held my hand in my formative years and guided me when I was 30? Which of my relationships will never come to an end, even in death? He searches his memories, scouring for a tie he still holds, searching for a person he still knows and yet, he finds nothing. He realizes it is not a person at all.
He realizes that the world may fade away, but his tie with Allah remain. Forever. Because that is why He had made the world so – a fuzzy illusion floating on the surface of a vast ocean: a simple disturbance of it’s surface and everything falls apart. Maybe that is why none of us live forever and life is full of loss, so we realize at that scary moment of death, what we have gained by connecting with our Lord.