The blog title of this post is actually taken from a t-shirt I found in the tween section of a department store that I decided to buy anyway. Last week, this slogan popped into my head. I went to see a comedy show with a fellow salsera. Little did I know most of the comedy would take place between us off stage.
Reflecting on the past few years, we both reflected on how our plan A had failed us, and the struggles of working through plans
much further down in the alphabet.
Some say we plan and Allah (God) plans, and Allah (God) is the best of planners. Others say we plan and God laughs. I say not only did He read my plan A and laugh outloud hysterically, he tossed it in the garbage and replaced it with a plan labeled random chaos. The problem is He wouldn’t let me in on this little practical joke until just a few years ago, and when I found out I wasn’t the least bit amused. Unable to find any life lessons in such a cruel joke, I stopped trying to make sense of it and just live my life.
About a month ago, however, I did petition the powers that be to be able to attend the mosque for the first day of Ramadan. You see, heathens like myself aren’t permitted to attend the mosque. My scarlet letter persists even after years have passed. I think there must be some statute of limitations on enforcing a charge of fornication. And besides, there weren’t even four witnesses. Clearly I am the first unmarried Muslim woman who has ever had a child *side eye*.
I explained to my friend, as we stood in line waiting for the show to start, that the problem wasn’t other people judging me, it was me judging myself. I’m not one for brazen hypocrisy, so I surely don’t tolerate it in myself. In no way can I make my life story fit into a nice neat little package anymore. It simply doesn’t work.
She searched for words to explain to me the concepts of moderation and striving in the face of black & white thinking and perfectionism. I could understand, but I couldn’t relate. I asked if the goal is unattainable, then why strive for something that you will never achieve? She talked about principles and setting a good example, while at the same time being able to admit your faults.
I guess that’s the thing. I feel like I’ll be in a constant cycle of screwing up and apologizing for it or repenting. This type of relationship with God makes me feel like a cheating spouse that is always promising I won’t do it again but inevitably, you know you cannot believe their word. This feels dysfunctional to me.
If I was created in sin, or without balance, or however you want to put it — why is striving for balance a continuous journey of missteps, wrongdoing, and correction? It all feels very tedious when I think about it, and I’m not sure what to make of it right now. In the midst of my confusion and not wanting to feel unholier than thou, somehow I’ve managed to find moments of sanity in the chaos of life. Isn’t that the purpose of all of this searching for God anyway? It’s when I start to try to do the calculus of how far off I am from the standard that I get clouded in my thinking.
When I stop trying to figure it all out, somehow, someway, I manage to find some moments of peace and contentment of mind with myself and my life.
I may not be right, but it’s hard to find anything wrong with that.