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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Everybody Wants to Be a Somebody!

By Anthea Davis **

October 18, 2005


Is there any person in this world who doesn’t like to be recognized for
what they are and what they do? Unfortunately, people are often judged
by their looks, their family, their clothes, and the people they mix
with. There is so much emphasis on the external superficial parts of a
person that the person himself is usually left feeling lonely (even in a
crowd), misunderstood (even though people say they love him), and
perhaps even spending most of his life concentrating on developing these
external parts of himself so as to be accepted; whereas in reality he
knows that the real him is something very different.

How many people leave this world without ever having been appreciated
for their real selves, without ever having discovered who they really
are and what they are capable of doing? What a waste! And the thing is
that we live our lives making sure that the way we dress, the place we
live, the people we mix with, and even the food we eat are “right.”
Somewhere along the line we forget to ask ourselves what we like to wear,
what we like to eat, what we like!

Now comes Ramadan! In Ramadan life comes back to basics. We concentrate
on remembering Allah the Most High, on fasting and thus coming to terms
with our weaknesses, on reading the Qur’an so as to be aware of the
guidance of Allah to help us achieve success in this life and the next,
and on giving to others instead of thinking about what we are going to
get.

In Ramadan we have to live our lives feeling hungry and yet still get
on with our daily routine and work. We get to appreciate how the poor
people feel every day of their lives. We learn how much strength we
actually have inside because we manage to keep going. We may surprise
ourselves with the depth of our perception when we read Qur’an and
contemplate the meanings. We learn what it feels like to give to someone who
appreciates what you have done—and so you have the desire to give more.

Really it is up to us how good we feel in life. As we live our lives we
get feelings that serve as indicators telling us whether we are close
to the truth or far away. Some people describe these feelings as a sense
of tranquility when you do what is right, and a sense of anxiety when
you do something that is wrong. Have you ever helped a person in need
and felt bad? I don’t think so! Because most people will say they felt
“good” after doing a noble action. Likewise when you sacrifice something
for someone else, you feel good; when you tell the truth, you feel
relieved; and when you pray sincerely, your heart feels at home.

So it is possible to know ourselves and to understand the context of
our lives despite the pressures around us and the misconceptions people
adopt. I had a friend who told me that if you help somebody, you can
never be a nobody. Those words stayed with me and I have adopted them as a
motto in my life. I know from experience that whenever I have felt bad
about myself, my life, or the situation I find myself in, I go out and
do something for someone else and, inevitably, I feel better.

I saw a film a few weeks ago that really touched my heart. It made me
think about the worth of every single living person; it was about the
Special Olympics. When I saw the people who work with those who are
suffering from all kinds of handicaps I felt like I was witnessing the real
courage and spiritual potential that lies in all of us, but too often
lies dormant for want of use. The Special Olympics is a great chance for
people to discover themselves and how they can succeed at different
things in life. It represents the stamina, determination, and courage that
should mark our journey through life, and the positive and hopeful
attitude that should encompass all that we try to do. The people who help
out at such events revel in the general atmosphere of courage, dignity,
and hope, and you can see it on their faces. I felt, as I watched the
film, that the helpers were so very fortunate to be taking part in such
an event. I envied the hope and courage of many of the participants:
people who had exerted great effort and achieved.

Here are some quotes from this memorable film. At the end of the film,
a young lady who won an award said, “So here I am! Who would have
thought that so many of my dreams would come true! I’m not a hero, I just
like running.” Someone else said, “Let me win, and I if I cannot win, let
me be brave in the attempt.” Another person said, “The courageous
spirit, the generous heart is what really matters.”

So the message is that we should all take every opportunity that life
presents us with to develop ourselves. And I don’t mean just developing
the superficial qualities or making more money, but to search our souls
and find our potential and then dedicate our lives to being the best
person we can be. A very important part of that is reaching out to
others. When we try to help someone—even a stranger—our hearts feel uplifted
and our insight deepens. When we do such things with the intention to
please the Creator, angels will accompany us on our way through life and
our feelings of mercy and kindness will emanate from our countenance,
words, tone of voice, and actions until we put ourselves in the position
of being eligible to receive the guidance and forgiveness of Allah
whose mercy is apparent everywhere we look.

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