Contentment with little, and gratitude for what you have are virtues. Despite realizing their importance, and not being very worldy, in my heart these virtues always seemed a bit out of reach. I'd feign content, so that perhaps I wouldn't be counted amongst the ungrateful ones. I was content that I was alone surrounded by people who didn't understand, and didn't care to understand. I was content in the incredible amount of effort it took to make myself get up(no, not get up for fajr =P), and get through the day- without completely breaking down. I began to realize, this act I was putting on... might fool others. They'd think I was passive, patient, and could adapt well to change and bear the pressures of being a sore thumb.
But it was just an act. How long would it go on? Even if it went on forever, I was never at peace with myself. "Oh woes me!!" ( I didn't say it, but I sure thought it)... "Oh pooooor me!!! Having to put up with all of this wretchedness, this terrible lonliness." Pretty pathetic, huh? I would pray to Allah(swt) to get me out of this situation...every night with tears brimming my eyes and a choked sob in my heart. "Oh woesssss me!! Allah(swt) make my situation better!!" (I poke fun of myself a bit, but I was really in pain, its only in hindsight that I realize what was going on.)
Alhamdulillah, He(swt) did. I didn't get to run away to Yemen/Egypt to be an alimah. I didn't make a clique of muslimahs. I didn't get married to a brother(that's the best thing since sliced bread), and get a muslim community.
Nope, but my situation got better,Alhamdulillah. I still live in the same area, with basically the same people, with a pretty non-existant muslim community. So how has my situation become better?
I began to let go. I realized if there is a problem that I cannot change, then I must at least change my attitude about the problem. If for no other reason than to stand to live my life(however long or short) and not desperately seek refuge from it (my own life!).
I really had to magnify everything that was beautiful to me, even here, in nowhere, America...and readjust the focus on things which I disliked. It might sound a bit "tree-hugger"-ish, but I would walk outside and simply breathe in the fresh air, and take in the smell of wet soil after a rainy day... feel the sun on my face. Bring everything back to the basics things in life, so that I could count my blessings and not that which I have been denied. There is so much wisdom in looking at the hardships of others. It makes you realize your own blessings. So what if I'm not surrounded by practicing sisters, Alhamdulillah ala kulli hal. That is definately a great thing to have, but for those of us who don't... you learn to live with it... There are people who do not have homes, or families, or food, or love. Some do not even expect these things in the near future. That helps readjust your focus. That helps make the contentment sincere. Not just feigning, but really being grateful to Allah(swt) for all that you DO have.
Whatever it is that I don't have, is nothing in comparison to what I do. I have no room to complain. If there is a problem that I can't change, or am not willing to actively take part in changing it, the least I can do for my own happiness and gratitude to my Lord(who is most deserving), is be grateful. Like Dave Ramsey says when people ask him how he is doing, verily in truth he answers, " I am better than I deserve."
We sure are Dave... we sure are.