By Dalia El Athamna
We are often so consumed in our own lives, trying so hard to make a living for ourselves. We grow up, we go to school, get a job, maybe get married and maybe have a child, or two or three, maybe some more. We spend hours at a job that we might not even enjoy, but hey it pays the bills and puts food on the table.
Routine day in and day out is the story of most of our lives. Routine often makes us forget to be thankful for the countless blessings we’ve been blessed with. The education that enlightened us, the job that provided, the food that’s served on our tables, the roof that protects us, the beds we sleep on so comfortably, the blankets that keep us warm, the children that give us joy, the friends we share wonderful memories with.
Unfortunately what we most often forget are those less fortunate than us, we forget that there’s more to life than ourselves, our family and our friends. We forget that there are people that sleep alone at night waiting for the sun to rise, there are people on the side of the road shivering their heart out in below zero weather, there are people that collect food out of garbage cans just to survive to the next day, there are people that have been deprived of love, of peace, of a smile from a child.
Where are we from all this? Have we forgotten that charity in Islam is not merely giving money once a year? Have we forgotten that there are countless ways to give charity, countless ways to help. Charity is giving food, giving clothing, providing shelter, providing guidance; even smiling is an act of charity in Islam.
I refuse to live my life feeling that I have not contributed; I have not made a difference. I refuse to turn a blind eye to the poor and needy and to those suffering. There’s gotta be more to life, there’s gotta be a reason why some are forced to suffer while others are given the chance to enjoy every aspect of living. How will we ever learn what compassion is, what empathy is, what true love is without extending a helping hand to someone that needs it? How will we ever learn about suffering without witnessing someone who has suffered?
There’s so much potential in all of us to make a change in the life of a helpless person. There’s so much I want to do, so much I wish for. I wish and God is my witness that I can feed every starving child in Alyarmook refugee camp just like I feed my own children. I wish I can visit every displaced Syrian shivering to death under tents on the borders and cover them with warm blankets. I wish I can provide hope and love to a mother who has lost all her children in a battle she has nothing to do with. I wish I can cover the ears of children so they don’t hear the bombs falling.
But since my dreams are much bigger than what I can realistically do, I start here, I make a change here. I wish I can encourage everyone to dig deep inside and find that bit of compassion in their heart to make a difference. I pray that I can one day look back at my life and know that I have wiped someone’s tears of pain and put a smile on their face instead, that I have given someone hope for tomorrow and that I have contributed to a positive change in the world. Because really, there’s nothing more valuable than knowing that you have put a smile on someone’s face even if it were just for moments.
Feed the streets: An initiative to feed the homeless in Toronto
Through VON (Victorian Order of Nurses) I volunteer to visit Freda every week to keep her company through her lonely days.