Many people who follow my daily musings on this blog wrote to ask why I have not written lately.
I feel as if a light had gone out in me. I go through the motions of my everyday life – smile and laugh even – but I can’t feel any real joy for living in recent weeks.
I know I have to find that joy, whatever it takes, but I didn’t quite know how.
Then, this evening, as I was lying in bed reading a book about Rumi and Shams of Tabriz with my hand resting on my heart, I feel its insistent thrum beneath my palm. I was then reminded of something that had been buried in me for a very long time: a very long time ago, when I was in Palestine, I had desperately tried to save a young boy’s life. He was fading fast and I wasn’t sure if he could last much longer. I was desperate. I wanted to reach to him, to give him something meaningful to hold on to. In my very basic Arabic, I had said to him, “Ana qalb, inta qalb.” My heart, your heart. The boy smiled a very precious smile for me when he understood my words.
Twenty or so years later, it was my turn to be close to death, when my heart went into ventricular fibrillation. And strangely, magically, in my hovering moment, my love had said to me, “I am your heart.”
Did I imagine it?
We argued about what he said or did not say in good humour.
“As if,” he retorted.
“You did!” I insisted.
But what was real was that in the month of December almost two years ago, he worked so damn hard to rebuild my heart. And for that reason, I must connect to it – the source of joy in us all – again. Be patient with me for my silence as I journey inwards on the roads that he had carved out for me – inroads into my heart and the joy that lives there – on the day I very nearly died.
“You will find me in Rumi, until I return. Insyallah.”
Stop learning, start knowing.
The rose opens, opens
And when it falls
– Jalal-ud-Din Rumi
(Translated by Andrew Harvey from A Year of Rumi)