Of Cheesecake and Heartache

I was doing pretty okay today…and then we made cheesecake.  After putting it off for over a year, we finally got around to doing it, and even I put the darned thing in the oven to bake, a small voice in the back of my head was saying: “Finally! Don’t forget to save a piece for…” and then it kinda choked on its own whisper.  Who was I supposed to save a piece for again? Riiiight.  No one.

I’m not sure if I’m really, really hurt right now or really, really angry.  I’ve taken a leave of absence from facebook*, I’m trying really hard not to think of a whole chunk of my recent time although that same chunk of time was supposed to someday be a treasure-trove of memories that made my life that much richer than anybody else’s…all the things that I thought were mine have been simply taken away with no explanation and now I can’t even eat cheesecake in peace?

How many more random things on random days are going to trigger off that voice?  And really why am in this position anyway?  I’ve lived all my life knowing that there are consequences to your actions.  Every word you say has the potential to make someone’s day or to crush them.  A simple smile can change another person’s day and maybe even their life.  And if you make the effort to smile just for them even when you don’t want to, then that makes it even more precious in giving.  So where’s my action to which this is the consequence?  I’d really like to have it pointed out so I can fix that flaw in my character and not invite a repeat of this at any time in my future.

It hurts missing someone when that person doesn’t miss you back, and it hurts differently when your world seems a little quieter, your days a little harder and your heart a little sadder while the other person doesn’t seem to find the lack of you a significant absence in their life.

<mail break>

Even as I finished writing the above, a friend sent me an email with the following poem.  It’s probably a common one that’s been passed around for a long time, but I guess the same words sound different depending on when you read them so this is my contribution to passing it forward:


Some things are beyond our planning.
And life doesn’t always turn out as you plan.

You don’t plan for a broken heart.
You don’t plan for an autistic child.
You don’t plan for a tumor in your body.
You don’t plan for a lump in your breast.

You plan to be young forever.
You plan to climb the corporate ladder.
You plan to be rich and powerful.
You plan to be acclaimed and successful.
You plan to conquer the universe.
You plan to fall in love – and be loved forever.

You don’t plan to be sad.
You don’t plan to be hurt.
You don’t plan to be broke.
You don’t plan to be betrayed.
You don’t plan to be alone in this world

You plan to be happy.
You don’t plan to be shattered.

Sometimes if you work hard enough, you can get what you want.
But MOST times, what you want and what you get are two different things.

We, mortals, plan. But so does Allah.
Sometimes, it is difficult to understand Allah’s plans especially when His plans are not in consonance with ours.

Often, when He sends us crisis, we turn to Him in anger.
True, we cannot choose what Allah wishes us to carry, but we can carry it with courage knowing that He will never abandon us nor send something we cannot cope with.

Sometimes, Allah breaks our spirit to save our soul.
Sometimes, He breaks our heart to make us whole.
Sometimes, He allows pain so we can be stronger.
Sometimes, Allah sends us failure so we can be humble.
Sometimes, He allows illness so we can take better care of ourselves.

And sometimes, Allah takes everything away from us so we can learn the value of everything He gave us.

Make plans, but understand that we live by Allah’s grace


The only thing I’d say to this is that much as we can’t plan certain things, other things we make conscious choices to do or not to do, to say or not to say, to react to or not to react to.  In every plan there are two parties: the people who carry out the plan and those who feel its effect. And I find it so hard to understand why anyone in this world would make choices that would have a negative effect on others.

So I think a part of me will always ask why? In moments of feeling that funny mixture of sad and not-quite-sad, I promise myself that when I make it to Heaven (insha’Allah), the first thing I’ll ask for is to know why, to understand what I did that was so wrong, to figure out how I could inspire such indifference. (People usually inspire affection or hostility, but mere ‘I-Don’t-Care-How-This-Makes-You-Feel’ is on a whole different level of insignificance.)

Naturally the problem with that wish is:
a) I have to make it to Heaven first.
b) What if I find out that while I’m feeling so hurt and stumped by what I’m assuming is no fault of mine, I discover then that it was really all my doing after all?

I guess there will always be some things that we won’t ever be able to run away from.

bint Ali

*If you’re reading this from facebook, it’s because my blog is linked to my Notes, so if you have something to say to these posts, you can say it there but I’ll only respond if you leave the same comment on the livejournal version.