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Yemeni Journey

What We Leave Behind

Waiting. Perfecting patience. Setting goals and working towards them one baby step at a time. Looking forward, keeping trust in Allaah.

These have made up the last two months, months in which we are in a limbo between homes, out of one, but not yet in another. Walking the bridge, however precarious it may seem, between our home in Yemen and our new home here in Missouri; a bridge that we are building even as we walk, piece by precious piece.

Needed reminders of lessons hard learned in times gone by. Everything comes when the time is right, not when we feel the time is right. Each moment is precious, too precious to waste, or in a blink that child’s laugh, that rainbow tinted sky, that crystal snowflake on a limb of green, will be gone. Celebration of family, the core of beautifully rendered steel that truly defines home.  The importance of accepting a gift given, and of giving with no hope of wordly return.

myhomemypath-012Today I planted flowers in a shower of sunshine in front of what we pray, insh’Allaah, will be our new home soon. As Juwairiyah and I dug holes and planted green sprouting bulbs of yellow, purple and red that will greet  visitors to the house and hopefully bring a smile to the faces of the brothers on their way to the masjid and children on their way to school, a young mother and her children came up to chat.

“I always wanted to grow things,” she said, “but I’ve always rented, and wanted to wait until I owned a place of my own.”

“Well,” I replied. “We’ve left a trail of gardens everywhere we’ve lived, across America and Yemen.”

I thought of those gardens then. Our first garden, grown in tires  on the balcony in Boulder. The sweet little garden full of herbs and vegetables, surrounded by comfrey, apple and pear trees in Liberty. The myriad containers placed all around our rooftop in Ma’bar, with a compost bin in the corner. Each one unique, ground on which we learned lessons of life and death, hardship and ease, pain and sweet success.

Later, a young girl echoed the words of the first woman, and I told her the same, and tried to paint for her a picture of our gardens, so far apart in distance yet held together by strings of experience and growth. I saw the skepticism in her eyes, and turned to look at Juwairiyah. In her hazel eyes I saw the light of understanding, the knowledge that nothing done with sincerity and honesty is ever lost, and that a gift given is a gift, whether the person who receives it accepts it or not.

With this in mind, we continue to plant, hoping that in doing so we will be able to give, in whatever way possible, just a little something to the people who walk by our house, or who share the abundance of tomatoes and zucchini that insh’Allaah summer will bring, or who drink an herbal tea to help restore health or cement a friendship.

So many lessons to learn, and a garden is a great place to start.

Reply to Agnese Umm YusefCancel reply

6 comments

UmmIdris on March 30, 2013 2:21 pm Reply

As salaamu alaykum, As always, a delightful and visual read masha’allaah.

I am slowly adding plants to our home to help purify the air and add some soft beauty. Insha’allah I will attempt to add some grass and flowers to the little patch of gravelly space in the front.

Earlier this week I was searching for what my less -then- green hands could handle with ease as far as planting. I am actually thinking of getting some roll out flowers and watering it (yes it is a real thing) . Or would that be cheating? lol

I did see something using pallets and succulents that may not be too hard, Allaahu Alim. As you can see gardening is not my forte…

But as you mentioned, a garden is good for you and for others, and can bring a bit of vibrancy to someone’s day, and spark conversations, and it leads to growth in more way then one.

I am starting to fell motivated!!

Khadijah on March 30, 2013 2:56 pm Reply

Wa Aleikum Assalam wa Rahmatullah
No, don’t think it would be cheating (SMILE)! It’s good to get started, and starting small is a good thing, mash’Allaah. Our first garden as a family was the tire garden on the balcony in Boulder, CO. It was tiny, and everything didn’t grow, but it was fun and we learned so much from doing it. I have seen a pallet garden as well, it is supposed to cut down on weeding, I think. Whatever you try, make sure and let me know how it works out, insh’Allaah!

Lisa Shirah-Hiers on April 26, 2013 7:26 pm Reply

I love to think of all the gardens you left behind. I have this lovely image of flowers blooming wherever you have walked. My mother also planted gardens in the various apartments we lived in (we moved about every 2 years when I was growing up.) A few years ago I drove past one of the apartments where we had lived and saw that there are still tulips blooming where she had planted them 30 or more years ago! How lovely if all the legacies we leave would be such gardens–real ones and those of the heart.

Khadijah on May 9, 2013 5:40 pm Reply

I love this image, Lisa, of the tulips still blooming where your mother had planted them!

Agnese Umm Yusef on May 4, 2013 8:44 pm Reply

Assalamo aleykum wa rahmatullah,
masha’Allah a wonderful, heart warming post. Nothing is ever lost indeed, insha’Allah.
In winter we planted fruit trees at the back of the garden of our rented house. I spent some time researching what kind of apple to choose, one that had a good balance of fruit quality, resistance to illnesses and other minor variables. My husband pointed out the 2 year old trees I was about to buy might produce fruit in years, when insha’Allah we might have moved overseas, to a Muslim country. My answer was that in that case I was chosing good apples for the future inhabitants of this house, or for the population of cheeky grey squirrels of this neighbourhood, that took some of our tomatoes last summer, or other than them. Allah alone knows for whom those apples and peaches truly are.
A few days ago I noticed ants of the baby apple trees (that are covered in tiny leaves, masha’Allah); today a robin was hopping on and around them, on and off for most of the day. Insha’Allah someone is already benefitting someway, like the hadith says: “Never does a Muslim plant a tree, but that he earns the reward of charity because what is eaten from it; and likewise what is stolen from it, what the wild beasts eat out of it, what the birds eat out of it, and what people take from it is charity for him.” [sahih Muslim]

Khadijah on May 9, 2013 5:42 pm Reply

Wa Aleikum Assalam wa Rahmatullah,
Yes- you are right…when you plant a tree, mash’Allaah, so often you are planting for the future, and it is important to look at the bigger picture, just as you are, alhamdulillah. BarakAllaahufeekee for the reminder at the end, what a beautiful hadeeth, mash’Allaah.