Sunday, November 2, 2014

Between Worlds

I often feel like a tug-a-war is going on in my little world, between what's good for one child and what's good for the other child, between what's good for me and what's good for Humble Dad, between what's good for my dunya (this world) and what's good for my akhira (the next world after death). Driving one child to all his baseball practices conflicts with driving another child to all of her softball practices and it makes me want to just lay down, take a season or two off and keep both children away from doing anything because I am faced with what every mother comes to understand "I can't do it all."

The hope comes, the Mercy is realized, in the knowing that there is a God Who Can and does Do it All, Ya Allah.

I used to have one world that revolved around my grandmother's home in Washington DC where I was born.

All of my best childhood memories happened there...

Me, my Uncle Mark, & my cousin Karin in my grandmother's living room.
It's where my cousins and I played, where family dinners happened, birthday parties were had. . . even when I was sick with the chicken pox or other ailments, I was nursed to recovery at my grandmother's house. Then my world split into two with a sudden move across the country to California, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. I was only six but intuitively I knew things would never be the same and when I got off the plane in Los Angeles, I mourned for my old world, my mother recalls it as I threw a temper tantrum.

From Chocolate city to Plastic City, how different these worlds were and I went from Kamilah to Kammy, from being raised "Black" to being raised "White". Although, I never ate pork and my soul food experience was always limited by my mother's Wholistic diet choices, once in California, I lost connection to soul food altogether.

However, it would be a grave misconception if I portrayed and/or you understood these two worlds as a purely "Black" versus a "White" world. Although, I lost connection to all Black music, it was not replaced with the pop music that the local White kids at the public school were listening to, but with Mozart, Bach and Beethoven. I didn't grow up watching the Wiz (African-American version) or the Wizard of Oz, I watched no television and a very limited amount of movies. My connection to the life of this world was being limited, refined and disciplined, so that another world could be nurtured and expanded: my spiritual world. It was not Islam in it's entirety that was developing this spiritual world, it was glimpses of Islam, combined with glimpses of many other Religions in what was considered a "New Age Religion".

As I grew older, I wanted to reconnect with my Black culture, my father, my family. I wanted to understand American culture and started to watch reruns of all the 80's television shows that I missed out on: the Cosby Show, MacGyver, Punky Brewster & Facts of Life. . . but I never could be a part of either world,  I never ever could really fit in, just a floater above, below, or between worlds. When the popular 90's show: 90210 came out, it repulsed me because I never went down the media hole that prepared Americans for such filth. It's always a gradual indoctrination, so if you cut it off in the beginning, a love for it will never develop and you will see clearly when it approaches because it is so foreign to your being.

Then Islam came for me through African American Muslims in California. Different worlds were starting to collide, but there were elements missing and I was still searching. Then I found a world something more closer to what I was searching for, or maybe that world found me. However, like the world of Plastic City letting me know that I would never be accepted into the beach tanned barbie sorority, sisterhood was never felt with the Muslims of this new spiritual world. I already knew how to be a floater, I had floated from Washington D.C to Malibu to Minneapolis to San Francisco to Oakland to Atlanta to Dallas to Nashville to Baltimore, always between worlds getting what I need, and leaving the rest that aims to stifle, restrain, or reform, trying to make one fit into a box that can not hold one's spirit.  Floating between what's good for one child and what good for another child, between what good for me and what's good for Humble Dad, between what my nafs are inclined to and what my heart and soul so desperately need.

 . . . then Allah, the One Who Is Able to Do All Things, brings your different worlds together. . . in places like the al-Maqasid 2014 Summer Retreat and most recently at Masjidullah, an African American community under the leadership of Warith Deen Muhammad. These are the places where differences are overlooked and bridges are built, understanding occurs, where promises are kept, where love is grown, and your spirit is set free. Where worlds are united.

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