Where I’ve been and what I’ve done is never the same thing twice. It’s been too long since I’ve put experiences on paper, but I would love to begin today. There has always been this hesitation of continuing to blog after an experience. Because I’ve already missed reflecting and delving into too many adventures. Because I wish I wrote more. Because I feel too much. Because it’s never the same thing twice, and I regret not writing for myself more often to keep up with the ever-evolving me. If I do, however, continue living in this writers regret – when will I ever emerge from it and where will it leave me?
Let’s start with the now: It’s been a year since I moved to New York City. I am currently a student at Columbia with one more year remaining toward my Masters degree. I find myself surrounded by an entirely new string of comfort, making my old feelings of comfort feel foreign. My family is further to me than I’d like, c’est la vie. Since my last post, I have had the privilege to explore Morocco, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Kenya, Turkey, Qatar, China and through it all, myself. Two things: 1) there is tragedy and unmet needs everywhere, 2) there is even greater love and selflessness everywhere.
Love has found its way to me and through me and right past me without a word, but it has always managed to stay within me. There has been happiness and heartbreak and butterflies and thrills. There have been lives lost and memories vaulted, nieces to laugh with and nephews to nibble. I have seen touched the depths of the Indian ocean off the Kenyan coast and I’ve witnessed sunsets over the highest peaks of the Imlil mountains of Morocco. My religion has been tested and my spirituality wavered, simultaneously strengthening and exhausting my deeply rooted faith. I thank God for how deep these roots have traveled and for being the One I can trust and retreat to even when I don’t feel worthy of doing so. Faith is a funny thing, a constant thing, a constantly changing and adapting thing.
I’m 26 now and although I’ve said this for every age since 17, this is the best year ever. Alhumdulillah. In 2013, I titled this blog “Almas Radiantes” or radiant souls. I was inspired by the people I met through OBAT Helpers in Bangladesh that I now know and love so dearly. Now that I know what I’m looking for, I stumble upon the radiant ones everywhere I go. They are everywhere, their souls shine in difficulty and in peace. They are so radiant and every time I acknowledge that, their beauty transcends reality.
I’m 26 now and can’t tell you where I’ll be in a year. I hope I’ll be around, falling in love with the people and places and ideas that shine, and seeking the serenity and kindness that my parents model and practicing the forgiveness my Lord provides me. I hope I’ll be doing good things, providing for radiant souls that give me life. I hope I’ll be dancing and I hope you will be too. I hope we find treasures in everyday things, never feeling like the same thing twice.
A different world cannot be built by indifferent people, and with that, I bid you adieu until my words get to greet you again.
Until next time,