Thursday 16 April 2009

Notes from an unsettled mind

Yesterday, I walked into the laundrette with two big plastic bags of dirty clothes. Yella’s face lit up as she looked up from her ironing. We gave each other a long, big hug. She complained that she hasn’t seen me around and I explained that my washing machine is still good and running. But at the moment it just couldn’t cope with the mountains of clothes in every room. I didn’t really need to do the laundry there, but yes, I needed that hug from Yella of Yugoslavia, and I needed that time watching the clothes swirling around in the washing machine. Yella saw to it that my clothes come out of the machine smelling all nice and clean and she’d fold them neatly and place them in the bags and put stickers that say ONE on both bags.

Events of the last few weeks had not left many of us unscathed and untouched. I had been walking around with questions of the “what if” nature that would sometimes deny my tired eyes and brain of sleep. But it is fair to say that there have been lots of sobering thoughts too; like the words of the kiyai from Indonesia who joined our congregation. He stood tall in his white jubbah, hands clasped in the manner of a learned preacher and delivered much needed words that calmed our aching hearts and soothed our wounded souls. In his thick Javanese accent, he addressed the hushed audience in the crowded room; an impromptu speech from an unexpected guest at a very opportune moment.

“Ibuk-ibuk..dan bapak-bapak……” he started, looking around the room, casting his kind eyes and arresting our attention. He then proceeded to talk about redha, about letting go and about the virtues of forgiving and asking for forgiveness. He narrated to us stories that took our minds away from the food on the table; stories which reminded us of the after life. The silence lingered on long after his impromptu speech ended.

Over the last few years, it would seem that visits to places like the Garden of Peace, had become more frequent. The serenity of the place, with rows of tall everygreens bordering the 21.5 acre of beautifully landscaped resting place, offers much comfort to visitors who go, either to bury their loved ones or to read prayers to those departed.

As I walked back to the car after my last visit there, words of Ustaz Erfino, rang clear in my head.

”Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been quoted in many hadiths that inform us about what is in store for people in their graves. He (peace be upon him) mentioned that “sleep is the brother of death.” This is an excellent way of looking at what we will experience in our graves. Sleep may be restful and peaceful or it may be frightening and tormenting as in a nightmare. The grave we reside in after death will be similar.

He quoted surah az Zumar verse 53, ‘Say: O my servants! who have acted extravagantly against their own souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah; surely Allah forgives the faults altogether; surely He is the Forgiving the Merciful.’

His talqin, delivered in English, reached a lot of people and did a lot to calm restless souls.

We are slowly picking up the pieces. Yesterday, after a long while, we began to notice that the flowers have bloomed.

Other notes of a rambling nature:
Notes from under the duvet


Naz in Norway said...

Kak Teh,
I can imagine that it has been very tough for all of you. I think that was why I tergerak hati yesterday. Let's not spill the beans here. Let's wait and see..

Kak Teh said...

naz, yes you are right. and abt yr tergerak hati, i think I know. but let's wait and if it is what I think it is, Insyaallah. we dicussed it yesterday too.

ray said...

Komen Pak Malim, kucing ray yg alim.

Deer Kak Teh,

U sound sad. Hugs from Malim and me.

Kak Teh said...

Pak Malim and Ray, thanks for the hugs...tapi lain kali suruh pak malim potong claws dia dulu.:)

Yes, I feel better now.

Unknown said...

Kak Teh,

I hear where you are coming from and my heart goes out to you...Many cyber hugs and much appreciation to you for this heart-rending post that speaks succinctly of what lies beneath and within your heart.

Take care and peace be unto you and yours always.


kay_leeda said...

Kak Teh,

I'm not good at guessing what's causing your sorrow. But I hope things will be ok. Do take care.

Sedih bila Kak Teh sedih :(

MrsNordin said...

This month alone, I know at least 6 people who have died. And last night, my husband told me of another one. A 50 y.o friend, on holiday in Singapore with his family, suddenly suffered a heart attack. They took him to the hospital but upon check-up, there was no cause of alarm. The doctors just prescribed him some medication. He went home to rest and later at 4am, he passed away. Today is the pengkebumian in KL. How sad is that?

Life is too short, huh? These sort of news just make me shudder..

Pi Bani said...

Life goes on for us Kak Teh, until our time is up...

Ah oh, reading the Quran helps a lot in calming restless souls.

ilene said...

Kak Teh, Just want to wish you a bright and sunny weekend.


ummisara said...

Kak Teh,

sedih jer bunyi nya...Tapi in a way ur posting tuh bagi kesedaran pada i

Insyallah everything will be alright..Allah Maha Penyayang ...

Kak Teh said...

paula, thank you for kind words. We pick up the pieces and life goes on.

kay, a very close friend died suddenly and that has stunned the whole community. We are coming to terms with it. The family is coping. But when something like this happens, one take stock of life, it is time to evaluate things. I suppose being away from home and from the extended family does make me feel a tad melancholic. But the community is the family here too.

Kak Teh said...

Mrs N, yes, I read your pieces and it must be especially stressful for you because of the dreams that you had. Yes, I have had some news from home as well. One cousin died at the age of 21 -medical student. Parents are devastated but must redha.

Pi Bani, of course - there's nothing like reading Yassin and verses from the Quran. Last night was a particularly good session and I believe I emerged stronger.

Kak Teh said...

Ilene, thank you and have a good weekened yourself.

Edelweiss, thank you. We learn from what happens around us. And this particular passing of a friend is one great lesson. We have rallied around and i believe the community is closer.

Mama Huptihup said...

kak teh, hope u are feeling better now...

Kak Teh said...

lyana, thanks - yes, Insyaallah, we will all heal. Hope you are well at home and back to routine in Malaysia.

Maz said...

Salam Kak Teh
I hope you will be strong to face another challenge in your life. Please take care and don't be too sad ya.

Kak Teh said...

Maz, thanks. dont worry. We need to have times like these to reflect. It is stocktakin time juga. You too, take care.

DrSam said...

Peace be upon you Kak Teh,

It is no way for me to have a wild guess of what really made you feeling that sorrow. But I am hoping you are coping up well with all the 'dugaan'.

Have a great weekend Kak Teh and take care.

Tunku Halim said...

Kak Teh - My condolences to you and the family for the loss of your friend, especially so suddenly. Take care and take heart in the simple things in life.

Anonymous said...

Dear Kak Teh,

It's always heartbreaking when friends go before their time, leaving behind their young families to pick up the pieces and continue the legacy. And it's ironic how it often takes sad, tragic events like these for us to pause, take stock of our life and appreciate what we have - the blessings, our family, our health.

P.S: It took me quite awhile to get the "ONE" joke.

Memorable trails... said...

Salam Kak Teh,
Kematian selalu menyedarkan kita especially if he was someone close and loved.It is the time to reflect,muhasabah dan perbetulkan hala tuju kehidupan kita.
Yes kak teh,semoga kita semua di beri petunjuk dan hidayahNYA sentiasa..
Cheer up!

Kak Teh said...

DrSam,thank you for kind words.

Tunku, yes, sometimes we tend to not appreaciate the little and simple things. This is indeed a time for reflections.

Kak Teh said...

andrea, you are the only one to mention ONE! Well done. You spotted. and thanks for kind words.

Madam Gold, well said. Semoga kita diberi pertunjuk dan hidayah.