Because it is not my native language, I have to listen and trust in the interpretations I read. Plus, I need to interpret what they mean to me.

As I read, I am given hope. Hope that Allah (I am trying to use the term, because I think it will assist me in the transition from my childhood belief of the man that stood on a cloud with a long white robe and beard to the all-knowing, all-seeing, energy that envelopes everything willing to be open.), Allah has a plan for us that brings the best. We get to live on this Earth to experience the goodness….and the bad. 22 says “it is He who sends down rain from above for the growth of every kind of fruit for your sustenance.”

Some people find so much pain in the rain. There was a time when I felt only the rain. I was rained on for many years. Everyone is. But if we focus on the rain that Allah pours on us, we will not see the blooming that follows. For every rain produces something spectacular. It might be something as bold as a rainbow, but that is not what I have generally experienced. I normally experience the tiny bud that has potential to grow into a garden, if I only continue to tend to it.

I still sometimes get pulled back into the fear that comes with the rain. When I was growing up, my parents divorced. After that, I lived in a continual state of uncertainty. I never knew when things would blow up. When I was very little, in the early stages, both my mother and father were very angry at each other. This anger often turned into fights. Not just arguing but fights that involved cars, violence, broken things, loud yelling, and sometimes even police. It was very scary for me as an eight year old girl.

I didn’t understand then why Allah would put this all into my life. But as an adult, I look back and see some of the character it instilled in me. I am a teacher and when my young students look to me with those innocent eyes, the ones I once wore, I can feel a compassion like no other. I know that the child that was up all night with fear and worry really needs a loving hug and forgiveness for the day. I can offer them that.

I also know my parents would not be the people they are today without the separation. My father spiraled after the divorce. His life was shaken up. He drank as much as any man could. I remember times visiting him when he would pass out from standing position, right in front of my face.

But then a day came when he took control. He would not be the grandfather he is today without his enabler leaving his life. Because he suffered, he grew. Because I suffered, I grew. Today we are the closest any father and daughter could be. Closer than my mother and I even. I know it is not a competition, but I would say he is the best grandparent out of the four my children have. He is always there for me and them.

I did not just wake up to this one day. It took many years and many moments of understanding what he might have gone through. He fought in a war. A war that was hated by most Americans. He left as a newlywed and returned a provider for a young family. He needed to heal.

And so with this in mind, when the rain pours down on me, I will ask, “Allah, what is its purpose? Should I be tending to something? Guide me and I will follow.” Because I know my life does not have meaning unless it is with purpose and my mind is not at ease, unless it is using the rain to grow.

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