I’m pretty sure I’m an introvert. I do love having friends though.
Rolling stones gather no moss. Ever heard that one? Thats one of the disadvantages of travelling.
After moving to the UAE that’s one of the things I missed… having friends. Getting married didn’t really create any opportunity either. That’s what it’s like, being Asian and living around family. There’s always someone to see and you’re really lucky if you can find friends amongst family.
Over the years, that family dispersed itself a bit, and that gnawing feeling at the back of my mind grew more intense.
I wanted to meet people. I wanted to see how others lived their lives. I wanted to know what it’s like to be with people besides family. I wanted friends who could just come over while I’m still in my pyjamas. I’d heard of that sort of thing. Through three pregnancies and that many babies, toddlers and illness of my children, I felt so alone.
I would constantly remind myself,
حسبي اللہ ونعم الوکيل
Allah is Sufficient for Me, and He is the Best Trustee.
My husband was there and tried to socialise, but nothing really gained momentum. I constantly felt that I shouldn’t need anyone, that I shouldn’t ask anyone for help. I felt that I shouldn’t keep piling up stuff on my husband, thinking that he wouldn’t like me to cling to him. Yet, time and again, I would break down and he’d be the only listening ear I had.
Recently I called up my childhood best friend and asked her who she spoke to when she’s bothered by something. That was an interesting phone call. We used to be really close, but after I moved cities at 15, we’ve only written or spoken over the phone. We have a running joke, we’ll be neighbours in Jannah insha Allah. Not so much of a joke actually. I’d like that. So I called her and she told me that she was in pretty much the same boat I was. She did remind me, however, to ask Allah to surround me with good company and not to feel guilty talking to my husband. Why feel bad if I have a friend in my husband?
It can be a struggle maintaining friends when you don’t have time to commit to them. That’s how its been over the years. I was so busy homeschooling part time I didn’t have time to maintain friendships even though I felt so lonely. I tried many times to bring regularity to the meetups I had, but it needed something more.
That’s when I realised why our faith emphasises on neighbours and why we ought to pray for good neighbours. The people who live nearest to you are the ones you would meet every day, so its easier to make friends and it is more likely that you’ll feel close to them.
My homeschooling journey with my children has been a blessing. As I strive to provide good company for my children, Allah has given me the opportunity to find good company. Last September, I sat in a room of mothers from around the world telling their stories of leaving high flying careers to educate their children. I felt so shy and small that day. I think I came home and cried because I felt I had done nothing in my life except being a daughter, wife, daughter in law and mother. I felt that I had given these roles so much, I had nothing left in me. I wanted so much to be accepted amongst others. To know how others lived their lives. I did not want to be judged by the way I dressed or by my apparent religiosity.
For the first time in my life I decided that I would not bother myself with what anyone thought of me. I would just be myself and say what I thought and share what I wanted to. I would be direct when I felt bothered by something.
At the end of the day, finding good companionship with the foundation of faith is what became my goal, and I have recently felt nearer to it than ever before. Thanks to the friend who’s remained near and dear to my heart despite having not seen her for over a decade. The strongest love is the one that is tied to our love of Allah.