Sometimes we truly don’t realize just how much we have. Our social media timelines all show us how behind we are on the latest trends, and how much more we need to have and purchase. As someone who happens to love custom clothing, I’m guilty of being part of a society that pushes the ideology of materialism. Though I pride myself on not being completely enslaved to the system, I do find myself dropping a few hundred dollars at Banana Republic whenever I’m visiting back home, or here in Cairo I’ll occasionally stop at a local tailor to have some custom pants or a suit made. Needless to say, I, and many of us live like royalty in the grand scheme of things.
So, the reminder I received a few days ago was much needed. I had just broken open the box of shoe polish for my Allen Edmonds which hadn’t been polished since I bought them two years before, it was finally time to give them the loving they deserved. For the next half hour, I polished and brushed down all 3 of my dress shoes (that’s a lot to me) until they looked like the kind of shoes Shuri would approve of for her brother, T’Challa. Seeing as I was heading to work on that day, I put on a neatly pressed dress shirt, and a suit I had just picked up from the cleaners and made my way to work. All was good on the way, I found a small autobus and began my short commute to my job as a translator and editor.
There on the bus a young child sat passed out on the seat. His clothing wrinkly, his face dusty, and holes exposed his skinny legs. Cuts and bruises ran across the bottom of his feet and I looked down at my freshly polished shoes and said the first thing that came to mind, “Alhamdulilah.”
I wasn’t praising and thanking God because I had what he didn’t, I was thanking God that He had sent me a reminder when I had forgotten. I had forgotten as to why I should continually be grateful regardless of the state that I was in. The reality is that I’m sure some arrogance had creeped into my heart while I was polishing those shoes. And while I was busy polishing shoes, I had forgotten to polish my heart from all of the spiritual diseases that tend to accumulate when we neglect it.
“Truly in the body there is a morsel of flesh, which, if it be whole, all the body is whole, and which, if it is diseased, all of [the body] is diseased. Truly, it is the heart.” (Imam Nawawi’s 40 hadith).
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