Dec 7, 2017

Post-TOF: A Stranger Cried, I Cried

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.

Credits to Sham Jolimie (photo taken from here)

If you read my previous post, you might still remember that I wanted to tell you guys about this story.

"Hati tisu" (hati = liver, tisu = tissue) is a term used for those who cry easily. Don't ask me why liver, and not heart. Here in Malaysia, we use to call heart as 'hati', which means liver actually. Although I don't think there's anyone from overseas reads my blog, I explained it just in case there is hehe. Indirectly "hati tisu" means you have a really soft heart. I don't consider myself to have "hati tisu" (flip hijab, I'm in denial haha), but my eyes can be so watery because of small simple gestures or unremarkable events, that touch my heart. And ...

I can't see someone else cries. 

I still can remember, there was one time I was in the medical ward. I met a lady who was admitted due to shortness of breath. Only shortness of breath. Upon physical examination, they noticed there was a swelling near her breast. All investigations were done, and they told her she had breast cancer and the cancer cells already metastasised to her lungs and that was why she had shortness of breath. It was stage 4. After all the doctors left, we had a conversation. She told me about her family, etc. She cried. Remember I said I can't see someone cries? I cried too. My eyes became watery. Instead of me offering her a tissue, the patient herself offered me a tissue haha. She even told me, "Takpe, makcik okay je." (It's okay. I'm fine). I was sooooo embarassed. Come on tears, can't you guys wait until we leave her bed? 

What do you think if you tell your problems to your doctor, and you cry, then the doctor him/herself cries as well? You would probably say, "This is so weird. Now, I'm the one who has to comfort this doctor. Ugh." haha. So, I'm training myself not to easily cry/have watery eyes, especially when listening to someone else's concerns and difficulties. 

Back to Twins of Faith (TOF) story, my friend, Balqis left a bit early as she had things to settle so there was a vacant seat beside me. A talk by a Sheikh Alaa Alsayed on "After Honeymoon" was about to start when suddenly a lady came and sat beside me. I didn't get the chance to greet her salam and introduce myself as the sheikh had started talking. So, we both kept quiet and listen attentively to the talk. Sheikh Alaa basically told us about how marriage will be like, how you should treat your wife/husband, what's your right as a wife/husband, etc. Being one of the unmarried people in the hall, I could not relate much to my current life, but I jotted down important notes. Well, it will be useful when I get married one day, InshaaAllah. Haha.

Then at this one point, suddenly Sheikh Alaa asked us to stand and give a big hug to the person sitting next to us, and tell that person that s/he's gonna be a great wife/husband. Lady hugs lady, guy hugs guy, of course.

What should I do? Think fast, Ardilla. Think fast. Okay, if she hugged you, you hug her back, will you? While standing, I turned around facing her and to my surprise, I opened my arms without any cues from her, and she hugged me back. Wow, I never thought I would do that!

I noticed she teared up a bit. I would feel really bad if I pretended I didn't see that and just let her cry alone.

"This shouldn't be so hard. Just be empathy," I told myself. I forgot the fact that I can't see someone cries.

I greeted her with salam and introduced myself, before asking whether she's okay or not. Obviously, she was not okay, so I didn't expect any answer to that question. My next question ...

"Do you wanna share?" 

And she told me everything. She missed her husband, and she had doubts, yada yada. She cried. She seemed could not stop crying. And guess what? While comforting her, I cried a bit too. I had to apologise for crying and I told her I just could not see someone cries. I wasn't in a position to give any pieces of advice for her marriage, and I could not say I understand, because how can you understand if you haven't married yet? But I just kept silent, listening to her stories and after a while, I asked how her kids doing and stuff. She thanked me, and apologised for crying out of the blue. Little did she know, I was the one who should thank her as she taught me that you can be a shoulder to cry on to anyone, as long as you learn to listen.

Here's something that was repeatedly being told to us during the talk,

"One of the best of all deeds is to bring happiness to others." 

Don't get me wrong. I'm not claiming that I just brought happiness to someone. But, I had been in a situation where I felt sad and I felt much better after someone listened and comforted me. Happiness is subjective. You might not be able to give wealth. But you can give the most precious thing one has, which is time. And that might bring happiness to someone. May Allah eases everything for us. Amin.

P/s: Does anyone have any tips on how not to cry when someone cries to you? Let me know if you have, okay? Thanks! :)

Dec 4, 2017

Post-TOF: Am I Not A Stranger?

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.

Credits to Ronald Cooley (taken from this website).

You know when you first meet a stranger and it's all so awkward in the beginning? You feel the gap and you don't know whether you should talk or just keep quiet because you wanna beat the silence and awkwardness, but you're afraid you might make s/he feels annoyed. That was what I thought a few days ago. I almost canceled my weekend plan because of the thought and I'm really grateful I did not. I have to admit that I'm not comfortable to be in a new place or situation alone. It all started when my Maklang (aunt) could not make it for the Twins Of Faith. 

She offered me a Twins of Faith (TOF) ticket for free. TOF is an annual Islamic conference, where they will call a few sheikh(s), ustadh(s) and imam(s) to deliver Islamic talks based on a theme, and this year it is about Qalb, which means heart. 

True they say that if you were to do a good thing, Allah will make it easy for you. 

When Maklang offered me the ticket, I checked my academic calendar. Coincidencely, I would be having a 1-week holiday, so I straightly accepted it. Before Maklang sent me the ticket via email, she asked me once again whether I wanted to go or not. I'm not sure how much is the early bird price, but the latest price I saw in the website was RM227, so if I did not go, it would be better if Maklang could give to another person. So, I really thought about it carefully. I was contemplating although I really looked forward to it. I will be alone, traveling from Melaka. Where should I stay? How should I travel to Matrade early in the morning? Won't it be dangerous? 

While I was still in dilemma, a whatsapp message came and it was from my SSP batch whatsapp group. Tsam asked if there's anyone who wanna go to TOF as she had an extra ticket. I sent Tsam a text and she told me she's going to join the conference. My heart leaped in joy, knowing that someone I know would join the conference. She even asked me whether I wanna join her and her friends staying in a hotel nearby. And she told me they could pick me up when I arrived in KL, although we were coming from different directions. (She came from Ipoh, while I was from Melaka). I thought she would come with a friend, but instead, she came with another 4 friends. I only knew after I asked about the hotel and transportation. So, actually, I might be a burden. Imagine a car and a hotel room, which can fit in 5 people nicely, and suddenly this one stranger wants to join. That was what I thought. But, Tsam kept insisting me that it will be okay and her friends were all okay with it as well. I agreed although I felt so embarrassed at that moment. 

Long story cut short, 2 days with them and they treat me not like a stranger. At all. They treat me like a good friend. I can't say they only do it to a person they just meet because they treat each other so nicely that if you look closely, you'll adore and admire their friendship. None of them is selfish. 1 and a half-day were not that long, but they touched my heart with their kindness and acts, which they may not even realise. When you come alone to a new place and meet a new crowd, you expect yourself to feel like a stranger, but it turns out you ask yourself,

"Am I not a stranger?" 

And I have to admit, they are so humble. So, so humble that I feel ashamed of myself. They made me realised that you don't have to say anything, telling others you're better or you're nice or you're good. Instead, your act will do it for you. Actions are louder than words, and now I really understand about it. 

I'm really grateful and so touched that when I think about what happened, my heart will become so warm and tears will flood my eyes. The experience was so beautiful that even John Green or Mitch Albom could not describe it perfectly. I'm so grateful that I followed my heart, to participate in the conference although I was alone at first. I could never replace it with something better if this was what He decided the best for me. 

He will make it easy for us, if it's a way to make us closer to Him. InshaaAllah. I did not only get the points that went straight to my heart from the TOF itself, which I hope they will stay there and help me to become a better person, with His guide, InshaaAllah. But, I also met new friends and experienced things that I never imagined I would get. I'm not sure whether you guys will read this post or not, but if you guys did come across this, I would like to thank you and I'm really blessed to meet you guys. Only Allah can repay all of you. 

And of course, a big thank you to my Maklang. Because without her, I might not get this once in a lifetime experience. Why did I say it a 'once in a lifetime experience'? Because you will never get the same exact experience twice and you can never turn back time. So, every single thing that happens in our life is a once in a lifetime experience. 

I believe that everything, be it good or bad, happens for a reason. Although we might not know what's the reason until the end of our lives, but bear in mind. He knows what we don't know.

"Fighting has been enjoined upon you while it is hateful to you. But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not." Quran, Al-Baqarah [2:216]

A photo of me with the amazing girls.

P/s: I have a lot more to share, inc the moment when a stranger cried and I cried as well haha. InshaaAllah soon :)