Imam Khalid Latif is blogging his reflections during the month of Ramadan for the fifth year in a row, featured daily on HuffPost Religion. For a complete record of his previous posts, visit his author page, and to follow along with the rest of his reflections, sign up for an author email alert above, visit his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter.
These past couple of weeks, I've been having some ups and downs with my health. The bad days were not as frequent as the good ones, thank God, but the remnants of the bad days had serious impact on the good ones. I finally went to see my doctor and was told that it sounded like I had a respiratory infection of some kind. Upon further testing, they told me I had a slight case of pneumonia, which was surprisingly not as alarming to me as I thought it would be. I got some prescriptions for two tablet medicines and an inhaler, which my wife, Priya, got filled for me and I took in the evening.
My breathing up until that point had been really terrible -- I was always short of breath and struggling to breath, hard. I'd wake up often in the nights from the heavy congestion in my head and my heart racing. The worst part of it was my nose being blocked.
Around 2:30 AM, I woke up in a sweat, but felt so much better than I had in the last couple of weeks. My lungs didn't wheeze and my head wasn't heavy. The best part was being able to breathe in through my nose after not being able to do so for the last couple of weeks. I sat and smiled for a moment, and then wondered to myself how I'd never realized before what a blessing good health is.
I am not exactly sure what I am hoping to convey in this post. In that moment I took a breath in, I felt more spiritually connected to God than I had ever before. The realization of a blessing is as simple as breathing, and despite all of my strength, how truly fragile a creature I am was made clear to me right then and there. Some of my most immediate thoughts:
- My unwillingness to acknowledge that I am no longer in my teens or 20s, but at 32, I need to be planning better so my 50-year-old self doesn't hate the body that it inherited from me.
- Exercising more self-care in every sphere of my life -- physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
- Being appreciative and grateful for the small things I overlook quite often. I know I wrote about this already, but I can't stress how important it is.
- Taking care of myself not just for me but for my family. My daughter, Madina, and wife, Priya, are of the most important blessings in my life and with a son on the way I have to take better care of myself for them. Priya always tells me to exercise, sleep better, eat well and I think I understand better now why.
- Spending time with my parents and letting them know how important they are to me. My parents are almost in their 70s and every day with them is one more day to create new memories to carry and cherish.
- To take more time for reflection. Sitting and thinking about the value of breathing properly has given me so much in terms of reaffirming and realigning my current values while recognizing new ones. If I deliberately took even a couple of hours a week or some time in the day to be introspective, the world around me would be so different because I would come to it renewed and refreshed as a regularity, not just by chance. As it has been said, "Reflection is the lamp of the heart. If it departs, the heart will have no light." (Imam Al-Haddad)
- Understanding my relationship with God and the important role that self-recognition and assessment plays in determining that relationship. I have needs, He does not. That can be daunting to think of if it is isolated from the realities of His Mercy, Love, and Compassion.
My apologies for missing the last few days, and my thanks to all those who have reached out asking if I was okay or if I was planning on writing again soon. It's encouraging to know that there are people who actually read these,, and more importantly that there are those of you who I have never met in my life, but still would take the time to reach out and check-in. Your thoughtfulness is more appreciated than you realize.
Although I can't promise I'll be writing daily, I will do my best to be as regular as possible.