Now and again, I engage myself into a so-called 'retrospective session'. Thinking about the many whys for all the things that have been happening to me ever since I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkins Lymphoma back in December 2008. Asking myself why have I suffered this disease at the first place, having been so fit and healthy previously. Asking myself why have the cancer relapsed so soon after my initial chemotherapy sessions finished back in June 2009. Asking myself why hadn't the stem cell transplant I had back in December 2009 work.
Not that I'm questioning Allah's plannings on me. Rather the whys I made up for myself were more towards making sure that I don't repeat the same mistakes that could have possibly lead to all this. Making sure that if 'X' had been one of the causes for the immediate relapse of this cancer, then I would need to eliminate 'X' as part of my holistic approach against the disease.
Try as I might, more often than not, I fail to figure out most of the answers to my whys. Which makes it quite frustrating, as it feels like you've run yourself into a stumbling block, preventing you from reaching the end of the path you're threading. Having said that, it's true when they say that in every cloud there will always be a silver lining. And I believe that I've found my silver lining.
I believed that, although I may never know the answer to all my whys, at least I do know that God has used this illness to show me His great love. Thus the saying, "Allah certainly has unique ways to show His love".
When I made the decision to continue my treatment in the UK back in July 2008, there were concerns financially. By July 2008, I was no longer funded through scholarships by my sponsor, thus I had to rely on the savings I have in my bank account. That was when Allah showed that I should put my trust on Him alone. My friends, all over the UK and Ireland, started a donation drive and by the end of it, managed to collect a few thousand pounds to help me during my stay in the UK for treatment. Not only that, I could use the money to support some of the travel expenses incurred by my family members who came from Malaysia to accompany me every now and again when I had my treatment.
Not only that, when I was recovering at home from a recent chemotherapy session, people would come on a daily basis to bring meals. I never had to worry about what to eat, as the Malaysian community in Sheffield had kindly prepared a roster-like list of people in charge of bringing over foods during my recovery period at home.
When I could not go to the masjid due to my health, I often felt like the masjid was brought to me. An astounding number of people supplicated for my well-being and continued to do so in each of their prayers. I can feel Allah's love showering down on me via the endless prayers of His servants.
The one day when I truly felt Allah's great love was the day when the masjid organised a farewell-like gathering for me the night before I left Sheffield for Malaysia back in January 2010. The main praying area of the masjid was full with people, you hardly notice any empty spaces. What made it more emotional to me was the fact that it wasn't just Malaysians who came, but also Arabs, Asians, Turkish, to name a few. All in the name of Muslim brotherhood. It certainly was a gathering I'd never forget, one that will remain embedded in my heart.
Even when I have returned to Malaysia for good since February 2010, I can still very much embrace Allah's endless love emanating through the support and assistance of His servants. Every now and again, friends be it old or new come by to pay a visit and say their well wishes. Not only that, a lot of the alternative treatments I'm currently on are recommendations I received through phone calls, emails and text messages from fellow friends and acquaintances. Some suggestions even came from people I hardly know of, who kindly offered their help having found out about my plight. I took all these as reflection of the beautiful blessings of Allah, one that teaches me a valuable lesson in life:
I can only find contentment in my trial and tribulation by putting any negatives aside, and start thanking Allah for the blessings He has showered me with.
Being able to feel Allah's love embracing me has been pivotal in keeping my strength during my times of ups and downs. Which is why I have always reminded myself to not act in ways where I might possibly 'lose' the eligibility of receiving such love. Therefore, I know I need to remain:
1. Steadfast, for Allah loves the steadfast.
“…God loves those who are steadfast” (Surah Al-Imran, 3:146)
2. In reliance to none other but Him alone.
“…God loves those who put their trust in Him” (Surah Al-Imran, 3:159)
3. Avoid committing sins, and to immediately turn to repentance.
“…God loves those who repent to Him, and He loves those who keep themselves clean” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:222)
When you feel like everything seems to go against your way, just take 5 minutes to sit down and reflect on all the blessings you have in life, and the things that actually went your way. May then, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward the life that God intended for you with grace, strength, courage, and confidence.