Belief COVID-19 Lifestyle Poetry Society

Chasing Shadows.

Chasing my shadow 
i found no meadow.
Chasing my shadow down the lane
i found pain
thwack on my head i was spinning
cause i did't see where i was going
chasing my shadow.

Chasing my shadow into the lift
all present in did nothing but shift.
Chasing my shadow out of the lift
got everyone into a splendid mirth
Oh! How great am i to get all in merriment 
No! said all we celebrating retirement.

Chasing my shadow around the office
i found a novice
said he to me, 'Why employ me?'
'methinks',  i said,  'need a PA to see.'
Chasing my shadow all around
i see every one but me
Tripped on my lace
fell on my face
Agghh! startled by pain
Fell lame in the brain
cause all I realised I was chasing my shadow
forgot all the while my life was a great meadow!
Abdullah Sujee

Today, 30 December 2020, is my sixth day battling the shadows of the COVID-19 illness and creeping out of the shadows of misery and despair is best. Creeping out of the caution fatigue, the pain, the short breath and all that comes with the huge baggage of COVID-19, is the first step to learn about our friend Courage. Did you meet him? Let me tell you about him.

You see on 25 December 2020, COVID-19 visited me with a chuckle because all he showed was my dear wife’s recovery and said, ‘You safe for now.’ He patted my back and left me with a light fuzzy head until then I smiled but, woke up to know I a’int feeling well. History has it now that I contributed to the one million infection mark in South Africa of COVID-19 infections. Out did I go for the test and there I met Courage. A smiling face revealed through the eyes because the mask and shield covered her face. The nurse also looked drained because of long continuous hours of work. On meeting Courage, I learnt it is the inner strength to keep getting up to do what you have to do and to do it with a smile. The effect chases the shadows of negativity away and gives you something powerful to go home with. I left the test station with courage because of how the front line staff made me feel. My results I was told will be ready in 24 hours. 24 hours passed and the result was POSITIVE and for once POSITIVE was not good when a negative would have really made me feel POSITIVE.

COVID-19 POSITIVE is a challenge and no one can take that away but, it is the people who make things better for you that gives you the courage to fight and not to yield. Believe me, it is tough and the mental game is like playing chess with an opponent who knows your every move because, you can never get out of his shadow. Courage visited me in the persona of the COVID-19 Emergency Team of Roshnee aligned to RNW and they are this remarkable men and women who take your life in their precious hands to care and support. They take you out of the shadows of despair and hopelessness and usher you into a safety net with all the necessary medication and guidance at no cost. Day in, day out, their calls and service keeps you in the sunlight of positivity.

Now courage visits you daily by the very people around you – your spouse, your mother, brothers, sisters and extended family and friends give you the doses of required resilience you need to make it through the next hour. Each hour is different and each moment of pain and shortness of breath has its own anguish. The anguish intensifies if you do nothing or keep yourself in the shadows of the illness. Easier said than done but, it has to be done. Making the time to read and write for example takes courage because you have to sit and concentrate. Concentrate on your task is one great soldier because to get on with the breathing exercises too, demands concentration and discipline. Believe me, it is easy to sit in front of the TV and binge of some interesting series but, that blue light addiction comes with its own shadows of withdrawal symptoms. So sitting and reading and then making time to write, for example, leverages inner strength because it is like soldiers telling you that you need to find the fortress on the other side. Somehow I realised that prayer (salaah), reading, writing, listening to good talks and any other activity opens a new dimension of understanding because you sick and you want hope and, you find courage in the meaning you attach to what you do.

This pensive task is not easy as short breath hovers over you and each minute sitting and typing is like running a marathon but, the end goal of a published article keeps you moving out of the shadow of despair. This condition is different for everyone and really each COVID-19 patient will have his/her own tale and the common factor is reality of death. Not to sound morbid but, that is the reality however, just making time to write this to you gives me hope and makes me conquer the moment. Yes! the moment not the day because each day is made up of so many moments and I want this moment to count.

In the book, Irshad, Wisdom of a Sufi Master I found a remarkable story. I made some moments count when I read the story of Sheikh Vefa (Arabic: Wafa’) who lived in the time of Mehmet the Conqueror and the founding saint of the eponymous Sufi Order known as the Wafa’iya Order. He was also present at the conquest of Constantinople. His exoteric and esoteric knowledge and practice is exalted. Now he had a baby boy and when he was old enough to play, he was allowed to watch out for the water carriers as they went down the street. This little fellow used to then pierce the waterskis with a nail he carried, drink the water and spurt it out. Know very well how that water at that time in Istanbul did not have its forty fountains that was piped to Istanbul by Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. Water carriers treasured their water skins like how we treasure our water supply. After months of this continuous damaging of their water skins, the water carriers knowing well who the guilty little fellow was, approach Sheikh Vefa and complained to him. He said that he would put matters right with his son but first called all of them and compensated them with new water skins and said the following to them after a full inquiry into the matter, “I shall correct my child. Do not feel bad about it. This naughtiness of his comes either from me or from his mother. There is no wickedness in the child himself.” Then he called his wife.

In a open conversation with his wife he told her everything in keeping with sagacious behaviour. The wife said that she recalls an incident and never intentionally disobeyed the laws of Allah, the High the Great but it is something he should know. She said:

While I was pregnant, I once went to visit our next door neighbour. When, for some reason, the neighbour had to leave the room where we were sitting, my eye was caught by a lemon lying on the sideboard. I was ashamed of my desire so, in order to take the edge off it, I stuck a needle into the lemon an put a drop if juice in my mouth.

IRSHAD. WISDOM OF THE SUFI MASTER. The Tenth Discourse. page188 – 190

Sheikh Vefa on hearing this felt relief more soothing than a zephyr blowing on sizzling summer’s day. He said that this ‘sickness’ in the family has been finally diagnosed. The savant sage instructed his wife to set things right with the neighbour regarding the incident with the lemon she once pricked to satisfy her craving. She did so with pristine sincerity. The venerable sage, Sheikh Vefa did not talk to his child and the next day, he let the child out to play and while the child was busy scratching the ground with his nail he did not even notice and pay attention to the water carriers and their water skins. For the Sheikh he looked deep with his and his wife’s behaviour to traverse out of the shadows of noisome protection of his reputation because of his status. He, with, the spiritual inclination knew the innocence of his child and knew that children are manifestations of their parents. For him, he read the situation thus:

So you see if a mother takes an illicit pin-prick of a lemon, her child ends up sticking a nail into waterskins and drinking the water.

Image by Markéta Peršínová from Pixabay

I sat back with an irrefragable state of mind on the matter because children are actually ‘manifestations of the parents’ own sinfulness’ as Sheikh Muzaffer Izak Al-Jerrahi contends in his book, Irshad. I tried to connect this with my intention of showing how in this COVID-19 condition, the mind is alert to new thinking because of the hype of life and death before your eyes. When I pondered deeply on why this story punctuated the depth of my thoughts here it dawned upon me that, I have not really understood the power of my actions.

My actions now is surely worth something powerful for the future. Perhaps not mine but, for someone out there who is not going to do what the little fellow did but, who will do something noble because this action of moving out of the shadows of despair is actually moving clouds of despair away from hundreds of others. I am certain that this little action, not like the innocent pin-prick to satisfy the craving of a drop of lemon juice, will reach the hearts and souls of people out there who are caught in the shadows of their own miseries and unnatural realities like war, occupation, bloodshed, human right violations, torture, rape, pillage, plunder and imprisonment without trail and more and; to move them into the greatness of mercy of the one who is Most Merciful of all those who are merciful. He is Allah, the High the Great.

Great is the feeling of doing things when you are most challenged because it speaks to the courage within you. Today, when Courage visited me, he visited me with a book to read and words to use to write. In his brief visit, Courage moved me out of the shadow of my fatigue and short breath into a space where I was using every breath to tell you that Courage is at your door.

Moving out of the shadow with Courage's help
I never sounded like the puppy who did yelp.
Moving out of the shadow with Courage's book
I opened and began to look.
Moving out of the shadow with Courage's saints
I was treated with all medical and spiritual paints.
Moving out of the shadow with Courage's wisdom
I found each day a new in Allah's Chiefdom.
Chasing my shadow no more
got me far away from lore.
Here I am with Courage
as my sage!
Chasing shadows no more!
Abdullah Sujee

Tomorrow is another day and I am hopeful it will be better because the long shadow of COVID-19 has reached the end of the earth. The well being of humanity lies within the humanity we have as humans therefore, let us be the courage to all who need it in this time of trial and tribulation. Day 7 beckons and I have moved out of the shadow today and will do so tomorrow, Inshallah (God Willing) again because, as darkness begins to loom, COVID-19 prepares another ominous prick. In the shadows too, waits warriors who have cast lots to protect you and that’s who am looking out for in the shadows that hide tomorrow.

Abdullah Sujee


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