An Oasis. Growing up I remember reading books of people traversing great distances in the desert about to die. Because of the intense heat they would begin to hallucinate and sometimes feel they were about to chance upon relief, an oasis of sorts that would give them the water and rest they needed to keep going. Sometimes they were right, and sometimes they were wrong.
It made me think of myself and how this is more or less my story in the world. Trying to get through this massive desert and find myself an oasis, a place to drink, rest, and to keep going. A place to cleanse myself from the filth I’ve acquired on the journey. This world can be tough, and when you think you’ve found companions or teachers that will help you rest and refuel, you end up finding people that end up leaving you in a position worst off than you were before, like a mirage that teases you into thinking you’ve finally found respite.
But then sometimes it’s the opposite. Sometimes you are so disenchanted with the world, so filled with anger and disgust. Sometimes you have given up hope and that’s when it happens. When you’re about to give up, when you’re exhausted and thirsty, that’s when you see it. When you sit at the feet of the river and you place your feet inside, you begin to question, “is this real?” Is this person genuine? Is this shaykh the real deal? Do people of God really exist?
We are all so inundated with horrible news and unmerciful experiences that it’s inconceivable to see the oasis that might be out there. We question its existence. We doubt if there are really people cleansing themselves inside it, people enjoying the foliage, relishing the coolness of the water as it runs across their toes.
I’m here to tell you that it’s real. That despite everything around you, despite the heartbreak, the war, the fighting, the politics, the abuse, the sadness, the hypocrites, there still remain people of God who are like oases. People that want nothing more than for you to take rest, to allow the water to rid you of any impurities, and for you to sit and bask in the Gardens of Paradise, where there shall be no worries, just rivers… for those who believe.
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