Posts Tagged ‘heaven’

Everlasting

March 26, 2009

“The place we used to be is still a part of me

And I’m so fortunate lady that you still need a piece of me

And I know that you’re waiting, see I’m only down town

You know I roll alone girl, I’m never with a crowd..

Take me back to the day when you made me fall

I want to go, I want to go

Make me feel like you did the very first time we ever touched

I want to go, lets just go..”

sunset-1

I went to stay at my great-grandmothers place these holidays, and while she passed away when I was five and the house has been renovated since, it still has her feel and her essence. You can’t escape it. Maybe it comes from knowing her, knowing what kind of woman she was and how caring and selfless she was. But how can you really know what kind of person someone is when you’re five? I knew she was loving and kind, and thats all I needed.

One of the first things we did was walk around and check everything out, see what we remembered and what was new. Touch and prod and feel and try on. Her mink coat was gone, a tribute to her classic style. She was pearls and 1940’s curls, designer chic for dinner and nautical colors as she relaxed around the house. We stared at a glamour pic of her from her youth, she must have been early twenties. “You look like her, ” my sister said. And I was surprised to find I agreed with her. We have dark hair and the same nose. I felt like family for once.

One thing really struck a chord with me as I sat down in her old torn recliner and looked at the room from a perspective she must have, day in and out, for decades. I could see the tv in front of me, to the left was the window with a view to the garden of the front yard, and to the right was a portrait of her husband who died a long time before she did. She must have looked into his eyes everyday and missed him.

“Sure as all that breathe will die

And showers fall from April skies

A heart thats pure won’t be denied

The kind of loving that will rock you

The kind of loving that will keep you

Hold you for a lifetime

Even in the hard times, even when its going down..

You’re gonna find someone’s riding with you

You don’t have to be alone, you just have to hold on

You’re gonna find true love..”

take-me-2

What happened to the love from back then? The one that lasted forever, long after your husband has gone. The one that left you believing you’d be with him one day soon, that he was waiting for you.. These days it seems like marriage lasts 7 years, and love lasts even less. How is it that our grandparents marriages last forever, but everyone else is divorcing? Theres some element they have, that we don’t. What is it?

Maybe its because we don’t truly appreciate the other when they are with us, what they do for us, or that it takes effort every single day to make things work. Maybe its because we’re so trained by consumerism to never be satisfied, to always want more or be looking for something better, an upgrade.. Why do people leave each other, when others can make it work forever? We raise our kids in the era of divorce, it feels like every kid has gone or will go through it. And with that kind of backdrop, how can we expect them to believe in a love that lasts more than a few years? Its no wonder everyone is always breaking up.

But when I sat in her chair it wasn’t hard for me to imagine getting a portrait of my own husband, and of days spent there warmed by the suns rays and our own affections. I hadn’t even considered marriage before that, aside from maybe eloping in Las Vegas or something equally as vague. I’d definitely never thought about the part after. But now its a big question in the back of my mind.. What has happened to everlasting love?

“When I think about it

I know that I was never there

Or even cared

The more I think about it

The less that I was able to share

With you

I try to reach you I

Can almost feel you, you’re nearly here

And then you disappear..”

take-me1

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Jabreel’s Inferno

August 20, 2008

“Per me si va ne la città dolente,

Per me si va ne l’etterno dolore,

Per me si va tra la perduta gente.

Giustizia mosse il mio alto fattore:

Fecemi la divina podestate,

La somma sapienza e ‘l primo amore.

Dinanzi a me non fuor cose create

Se non etterne, e io etterno duro.

Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate!”*

Lately I have been reading Dante’s Inferno and while usually I can dismiss religious texts, it has inspired me to ponder on the (debated) reality of heaven and hell. I’ve never been a ‘Christian’ girl to the dismay of my Catholic grandmother, although in my youth I entertained the possibility and attended a couple of masses with her, and even wore a beautiful silver cross encrusted with shining azure coloured topaz. Although, I admit I wore it more for the beauty of it than the meanings attached.

My parents both rejected the Christian ways of their parents as they grew older, my father once walked in on my Nanna telling us what to say in prayer and cried in exasperation “Don’t teach them that bullshit!”. I was always told that I didn’t have to participate in Religious Education in Primary School, and while I did go in the beginning, I soon tired of singing ridiculous hymns and remembering verses, and arranged to be removed from the class. I’ve never cared for Christianity.

But I can’t shake the belief in Fate, that destiny controls my path and that I’m lead to come across certain things for my own benefit. I’ve never had an inclination to read the Inferno, but a friend of my sisters lent me a big stack of books and it was in there, along with the other two parts to the trilogy. Even then, I wasn’t too keen, but one of my lecturers mentioned it in class and said that no-one could ever reach the last text, because it was too boring. And so with such a challenge issued to me, how could I refuse?

So I’ve been reading it, and with each circle of Hell Dante passes through I wonder is that where I will be? Is this the torture I will suffer? Then I think, you don’t believe in this fairy tale bullshit do you? That death is followed by another life in a magical realm? Such things couldn’t exist. But then, why have I been influenced to read this book? I never wanted to. And it has planted a seed of doubt in my mind, a seed that may have been destined to fall into place to make me question what the world is about.

Not that I would apply that belief in Heaven and Hell to Christian beliefs, I would think of it as something that would push me back to an Islamic path. Otherwise, why would I have made so many strong Muslim friendships and fallen into their culture and beliefs so easily? In Islam, there is the notion that everyone has the chance to revert and it is up to them to take that chance. It seems to me that I’ve been given so much in the way of Islamic influence, so much information, so many connections, but my feelings towards it being truth are unfounded.

If I was meant to be a Muslim, then why was I born with such strong feelings against organised religion, and an unwillingness to believe anything that was not provable through science? I used to tell my Muslim friends, back when I was still on the path of reverting, that they were lucky to be born in Muslim families, because they never felt the conflict of reason versus faith. They used to tell me that the reasoning and signs that pointed towards Islam were all there, but I was allowing myself to be blind to them.

Another thing that haunts me is a dream I had, back when I was still ‘Islamic’, on the eve of Ramadan. The Ramadan before that I had been fasting only every second day, which was a stark comparison to the Ramadans I’d fasted before, when I would only miss out on a few days. And so, I began to wonder whether this was truly the path for me and said to myself if I couldn’t fast a whole Ramadan, I could never be Muslim.

Anyway, the eve of that Ramadan (I think it was 2005 or 2006) I had a dream that the angel Jabreel (or Gabriel) came to me and told me that I must fast, and that I had to look after a young majnun (Arabic for a crazy person, or mentally retarded person) or all would be lost. He didn’t exactly say those words, and in all honesty I can’t remember any exact words or even remember his lips moving, I just remember the message. And in my dream he was shining with a bright golden light around him, he had golden hair and bright, intense, scary blue eyes and he was so powerful that I was overwhelmed with fear, I was completely freaked out by him in a way that I can’t even properly explain.

I woke up straight away and then immediately thought, it wasn’t real, it was just a dream and turned to my side and closed my eyes. The moment my eyelids shut I saw the vision of him again, just as frightening as before, and I quickly opened them with a gasp. It was 6am, or something close to it, and the sun was shining into my room. I was pretty cut that I’d woken up so early because it meant I’d be awake and so, fasting longer, but I was too afraid to close my eyes. It would have been a good start to a Ramadan, being up so early and having a lot of time to listen to Islamic lectures and learn to pray, but that Ramadan I barely fasted at all. I ignored the message.

When I told my Muslim friends of the dream they were astounded. My best friends mother interpreted it and said that it was a very good dream, that it was extremely rare that one would be blessed to receive an angel in their dream and that the majnun was myself. They all could not believe that even after such a powerful and scary dream I was still holding back from reverting. Sometimes, neither can I. But then I think of the world through eyes of logic and reason, and Islam seems once again like a strange fantasy.

I still feel the guilt though, and I can’t shake it, especially after drinking. Even now, I feel bad for every sin and I try to stay ‘pure’. I wonder where I got it from, I was never enough of a Catholic to begin the guilt process. Its so weird being stuck in the middle. But I can’t get past the parts of the religion that I feel are wrong, even though it feels like Fate leads me towards it so often.

So I let it go.

*Translation: Through me is the way into the woeful city; through me is the way into eternal woe; through me is the way among the lost people. Justice moved my lofty maker: the divine Power, the supreme Wisdom and the primal Love made me. Before me were no things created, unless eternal, and I eternal last. Leave every hope, ye who enter!