A Few Kind Words

I was sitting in a counselling service office while a family I've started working with was meeting with their counsellor. It had taken a lot of work on the school's end to get the family to take action with their child's struggles. But we were here. It was 4:30pm and I had been sitting and waiting on my tush for an hour and a half, checking work email, making to-do lists, and sorting out work tasks in my agenda. A very tattooed gentleman in his 40s sat down and started to fill in some paperwork while I flipped back and forth through my agenda. He handed his paperwork back to the secretary and walked towards me.

"Excuse me" he said. "Please keep doing what you do." And with that he smiled kindly and walked out the door.

Upon hearing his words, I almost started to cry. Did he know how disenchanted I was feeling earlier that day about the impact of my community involvement? Or the number of phone calls I received that morning? Or the fact that it had been 5 hours since I had eaten and I just wanted to get home and pound my stress away on the treadmill?

And then there's the community. I often reach a high level of frustration with how apathetic parts of our community is. No matter how many times you ask for help sometimes, you still get a "MashaAllah great initiative, but sorry, I'm not interested. So I'll support from afar with my duas, but no elbow grease." GRRRR! What will it take for some people to say YES sometimes? Oh but here's the irony: they have no qualms asking you for help, over and over again.

I know that those who are community activists know how exhausting the work can be. We do it for no one but Allah, with the hopes that we can make an impact. And it's tough when some of the people you're trying to work with are not in alliance with you.

But perhaps the gentleman with the kind words knew all of this and in God's own way, it was a nudge for me (and all of us out there) to keep going. And so that's what I'm gonna do.


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