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Assalamu Alaikum

Bismillahi Ar Rahmani Ar Rahim.

I am officially a member of the Red Cross Disaster Action Team, Alhamdulillah!! This has been in the works since October of last year, but I haven’t had time to attend the orientation until today.

I’m super excited because I get to take CPR/First Aid/AED certification classes, as well as a whole list of other classes that will help learn how to help and handle disaster situations, such as setting up shelters talking to clients, learning about blood pathogens, etc.

And I’ve also signed up to be on-call for national emergencies. So, I have the opportunity to go and help people affected by hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and other disasters on a national level.

It’s so exciting. I’m a bit nervous though because I didn’t think we’d be going INTO homes affected by disasters (by this I mean, fires, explosions, natural disasters) but it seems that I will be doing a little of that.

I’m more excited than nervous, actually, because I want to be able to learn how to handle these situations, and it’s important to me to break through my comfort zone a little so, if one day, I’m faced with a situation like this in my life, I will know how to handle it, who to call, how to do or not to do certain things.

Most important of all, this sort of work is important to me as a Muslim. I don’t want to go about my life ignorant of people that need help, because in the end, I’m accountable for what I did in my life, and also for what I didn’t do.

I have time right now, alhamdulillah. I may not have so much time in the future to do these things. I’m looking forward to becoming closer to Allah through important volunteer work.  I’m not getting paid. There’s really nothing in it for me except Allah’s judgement on my actions.

So, I want to go into this with a clear heart and mind. Clear intentions.

Allah, I’m doing this for You. Bismillahi Ar Rahmani Ar Rahim.

Allahu Allahu Rabbee laa ushriku bihi shay’an (Allah, Allah is my Lord. I associate nothing with Him)

InshAllah my efforts in this will open the door to larger opportunities to gain Allah’s pleasure and reward.

Once I start going on calls, unfortunately I’m bound by law to keep everything I see and do and hear confidential. So I won’t be blogging about my experiences, or at least not in detail.

Oh and PS…all of this is volunteer work.

I encourage you to go out and volunteer in your communities as well!

Nesha

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Derik

Derik

This is Derik. He is 7 years old, and I’m not sure what breed he is. He’s got this amazing panther-like face, jet-black glossy fur; graced here and there with strands of white. I love his paws. They’re powerful, but he never uses them to hurt or maim.

Everyone who meets him at the shelter falls in love with him, but sadly no one has adopted him.

He’s been my favorite cat since I began volunteering at a nearby animal shelter in September of 2012. He has never hissed or scratched me and has always greeted me with his trademark affectionate purr and feline saunter; a winding, confident way of walking that always made me think “dang, that’s one romantic cat.”

I have at times referred to him as Casanova.

For the past few months, Derik has been getting thirstier and thirstier. During my shift, he’d jump onto the counter-top and drink from the stream of water coming out of the faucet. If not that, he’d lick the drain on the floor beneath the large sink we use to clean litter scoops. If not that, he’d find a way to get into the other cat’s cages and drink from their bowls, until one of us, the volunteers, gives him a new bowl of cold water, because for some reason, he wouldn’t drink from his own.

One month ago, he was put on meds for a reason I don’t know of.

Today, I didn’t even recognize him. He’s lost so much weight and isn’t eating. There were 3 bowls of different kinds of food in his closure but he had touched none of it.

My heart broke when I heard from one of the staff that Derik’s kidneys are failing and he has a bone infection as well. He’s not expected to live much longer, I think.

I spent some time with him at the end of the day, keeping him in my lap. He’s still as affectionate as ever, curling into the curve of my arms, pushing his head into my hands and flexing his paws against my legs and chest.

He doesn’t have much time. The staff at the shelter are looking for volunteers to take him home, make his last days comfortable and happy.

I smiled ruefully. I’ve wanted to adopt Derik for so long, but my family is really quite strict on keeping animals in the home.

Still, I’d bring Derik home even if he may only have a few weeks left to live.

As I walked out of the door at the end of the day, I peeked into his closure and saw him eating from a plate of food we’d given him earlier. It was an encouraging sight.

I love you, Derik.

May Allah ease your pain and give you health, Ameen.

Silent Place

Would that the world were a silent place,

That is, void of the chaos of mortal men

Filled instead with wind and water,

And mountains cutting through thick forests.

Walking, feel both the warmth and coolness of soft

fertile earth

As it rises beneath the soft weights of my toes

And I, like wandering root do feel,

walking under the looming trees.

Inside a humid fog, repose,

and awaken, not wet, but warm

The smell of vibrant moss suffusing the air

and the senses.

Above me,

The clouds, turbulent in color and size

Wage war, though fruitless, to claim the sky

from the sun,

But none dare challenge the resplendent moon,

who, with her starry subjects, rises against

a midnight-blue canvas.

She is whole, tonight,

and the clouds have become still and light,

The forests have retreated to mystery,

and the mountains lose their arrogance.

And there is nothing to fear,

No chaos of mortal men.

 

Nesha Usmani

Re: Swinburne, Algernon Charles

Note: I’m a big fan of Swinburne’s poetry. This poem is more of a commentary on something I’ve seen growing like a cancer in today’s society, which is outright criticism of events and people without proper knowledge, and the extremely shallow and biased assumptions made about people, places, things, without prior research or experience. The second stanza of “The Garden of Proserpine”, when taken out of context, Swinburne’s (or the narrator’s) expression of his views are similar to those I’ve seen in the media/society lately. So…that’s what’s been on my mind lately, and here ’tis. 🙂

Immerse yourself in your slumber,

You’ve grown tired of this place,

You ignore those that bleed and hunger

after what you have disgraced,

Your days and hours would better serve

the dying men whose lives

were all spent providing

for their children and their wives.

Have you grown sick of the weeping children,

the ones who lost their mothers?

Or the kidnapped children of Africa,

who are forced to kill their brothers?

You write too much of consequence,

yet little do you do,

If talking of hereafter,

What, do you think, waits for you?

You don’t like emotion,

it seems that much is plain,

But to cause such commotion,

You prove yourself only vain.

I have seen, however,

that often, what I desire

is quickly chased by fire,

and that which fills my sleeping head,

is often painful, out of bed.

And Power is demonic,

when possessed by Godless men

But if the world were purely logic,

I dare not wake again.

Poet, do not forget the balance,

It is there for you to see,

Where, in the world, there is darkness,

Light will also be.

Separate the brothers, Good and Evil,  no more

For hand in hand they walk as equals

Not as adversaries in folklore.

And by worldly depression do not be bested,

For the world is a tool God made to test (us) with,

I do not know your faith,

But do good by God and, it’s true,

that good, in turn, will come to you.

Nesha Usmani