I look forward to each day in a different way than I did before. Not only am I grateful for another day of life and all that it has to offer, but it has become a daily adventure to see what kind of comments I will receive about the fact that I have converted to Islam.
I sent out an email to all of my friends and distant relatives that had not yet heard of my reversion. In it I discussed the peace I had found, that I know Islam is the right faith... it is truth, and I am happy in my decision. The first response back that I got was
"I am very sad for you".
I went to work on Sunday and was quietly reading the Qur'an when a man walked by my desk and looked at me strangely. He paused, grabbed a newspaper and then looked at me again.
"Where are you from?"
"Canada" I responded
"You're from Canada?"
"Born and raised"
At this point I turned away to let someone in the front door and hear this disgusted groan from the man as he was looking at the books I had spread across my desk: The Qur'an, The Role of Women in Islam, and Women in Islamic Shariaa.
"But your Muslim!"
And he took off...
Twenty minutes later--
"So, what--you're reading the Qur'an?"
Again a disgusted groan followed by an "Oh my"
After his tennis game he comes by again...
"So can I ask you what would make you become Muslim when you are from a Western country?' So I give him my two minute shpeel knowing he isn't going to hear a word of it anyway. I was right-- I barely get the words out of my mouth when he says...
"Well you aren't one of those terrorists are you?"
And yes he is completely serious....
However, that wasn't the reaction that was the most surprising for me. I had a meeting tonight with a bunch of colleagues. I told the small group that I had converted to Islam. I received nothing but support...
It was incredible. Why I had any fear I am not sure? I guess I was lacking faith-- Lacking faith in my colleagues and lacking faith in Allah that He would give me the words, and open their hearts to understanding. That He would make it easier for me if I just trusted in Him. As I was sitting there having the support of all of the women around me, if felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of my chest.
I never know how people are going to react and what they will say. What I have noticed is that at times I don't give enough credit to those around me. Granted there are close friends who have hurt me by their responses, but the majority of the people I tell have been supportive and wonderful... Alhumdulillah.
For lack of a better analogy I will say it reminds me of oil and vinegar. I am vinegar and all the reactions and comments I receive from others are oil. Initially when comments are made it is like when the oil is poured right into the vinegar. They mix and I internalize them. It is as though we become one and I cannot separate myself from what was said. However, as time passes, the oil settles to the top and lays there. The vinegar is still as it was. Although initially I feel like the comments that get made are at times very hurtful and I let them into my heart, I need to realize that they are what they are, and at the end of the day I will be me. That being said, if one was to make a dressing they would use both oil and vinegar. They don't fully mix but without the oil the vinegar lacks the structure and taste it has with the oil. -- Without the remarks that on a daily basis get showered on me, I would be lacking in who I am. My thoughts and my journey would be structured differently, I would be lacking in the "flavour" that has helped shape me as the Muslima I am...