I just came back from a five-day event yesterday. It was tiring, but not as much as when I once climbed a mountain for three days straight when I was in high school. I was not used to it (am still not actually) so please understand how hard it was to carry 10 kg carrier like a second body (plus, it was raining a lot it was a miracle I didn’t collapse in the middle of the track haha). I remember having a hard time walking and climbing the stairs for a week after that, I remember feeling like a granny because my legs kept shaking due to forcefully strecthed muscles. Yup, I am that bad at sport. Mock me, but being bad at something doesn’t mean I don’t love it. I love a thousand things I’m not good at.
This national scale event was tiring, but not as much as taking care of my four little siblings when I was a lot younger and my parents weren’t home. I was in my fifth year of elementary when my youngest brother, King, was born and I was forced into motherhood long before I even got my first period. Once, my parents went out of town for two weeks and I literally had to cook for my siblings, do the grocery shopping sometimes (I actually had a khadimat who came every two days to wash and iron the clothes and stock up the fridge and help out taking care of the kids when she didn’t go straight home -which didn’t happen very often), feed them, bathe and clean King’s pup, calm them down (read: scold them) when they fought, clean the mess they made, and put them to sleep. By the time Ummi and Abi got home, I felt ten years older and more tired than I’ve ever been.
This event joined by 270 special participants from all over the country was tiring, but not as much as being the head committe of the new students orientation with the new students to take care (not all of them were used to being away from home) and the teachers to satisfy (they could be very demanding, you see). I got hundreds of people under my responsibility and I remember feeling super stressed and scared at some point. But I got through it and I wouldn’t consider the experience as a failure. Those new students just graduated high school last year and they all still remember me, for which I am very grateful.
The event I’m talking about was simple really, you just have to stay in a quite comfortable place for a few days (indoor bathroom of course), meals provided three times a day, coffee break twice (in terms of food, I really think it was heaven, be it with or without the military men watching and timing you eat haha). All I had to do was sit like a good girl and listen to the super cool people the committe had invited, talking about life lessons and other cool stuffs. As long as you do what the committe expect you to do, you’re all good. The only hard parts were the approximately three hours of sleep each day aaaand the drama, which was completely unnecessary (I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling this way). After all it was amazing and in the end of the day you got rare knowledge and values you don’t get from just anybody, a bunch of new friends (saudara sampai surga, they say), and a whole year of being the next event’s committee to look forward to.
What I’m trying to say is, I have a lot of prior experiences that are more tiring than the one I just managed to get through yesterday. But not one of them, I repeat, not one of them has managed to teach me the true meaning of exhaustion. True, I learnt of this favorite chant I always say to myself again and again whenever I’m dealing with difficult situations: enjoy it, little thing, enjoy. This, too, shall pass. Abi always reminds me to enjoy whatever process I am in and I always think that everything happens would end up a memory and I don’t want to have any regret when I look back, at least not when I can help it. But just these past few days did I understand that being tired has its own art. That being tired is not a consequence. It never is.
I just realized that being tired is a choice itself.
You know you do it right when you choose to be tired. Not when you see being tired as something that you should avoid as much as possible, not when you get tired over things that aren’t worth being tired over. You know you do it right when exhaustion does not come as something unwanted, like the mere residue of your so called hard work. Nope. The art of being tired is not when you finally get to rest, not when you have your revenge over what made you tired. The art of being tired is when you know that by being tired, you’ve done something for the greater good. You’ve done something as an effort to get one step closer to the change people always say but never do. Even with the “working efficiency” thing, wanting to accomplish something wonderful without getting tired is like wanting raindrops to stop themselves from falling. It’s the cliche, baby: nothing worth having comes easy.
Those sleepless nights, my friend, those seemingly endless struggles, those rounds of work and qiyamullail, those tears and blood and sweat, those hopes you try your hardest to sow even when you know you won’t be the one to reap, all those things would be the things that will guarantee you place in His Jannah so long as you have the right intention.
Worry not, He knows. Worry not, He counts.
Because its always about choosing the hard way. Because the easier and quicker ways are always available. But for those who understand, life is really just a transaction. And if not by sacrificing all we are for Him, how else are we going to pay for a ticket in heaven? If not by bearing with this temporary world and all its tricks, how else are going to make sure we won’t end up in hell?
So savor the exhaustion. Savor it with all your being. Chew the bitter pill of life slowly, then swallow it and let the aftertaste lingers. So that your heart gets bigger. So that your soul gets wiser. So that your love for Him becomes forever. May Allah give us the strength always.