A Faithful Word

Living in the Light of God's Love

Hesham A. Hassaballa

Hesham A. Hassaballa
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
July 08
Hesham A. Hassaballa is a Chicago doctor and writer. He has written extensively on a freelance basis, being published in newspapers across the country and around the world. His articles have been distributed world wide by Agence Global as well. He has been a Beliefnet columnist since 2001, and has written for the Religion News Service. He is also a guest blogger for The Chicago Tribune. Dr. Hassaballa is author of the essay "Why I Love the Ten Commandments," published in the award-winning book Taking Back Islam (Rodale). He is also co-author of The Beliefnet Guide to Islam (Doubleday). His latest book of poetry about the Prophet Muhammad, Noble Brother, has been published by Faithful Word Press. In 2007, his blog, God, Faith, and a Pen, was nominated for a Brass Crescent Award for a blog that is "the most stimulating, insightful, and philosophical, providing the best rebuttals to extremist ideology and making an impact whenever they post."


DECEMBER 30, 2011 3:34AM

Away She'd Fly...

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When I first heard Coldplay's song, Paradise, I thought it was interesting, with a nice melody and theme. But, as I always do with the songs I place in my iPod and iPhone, I listened and reflected upon the lyrics of the song. And I found them to be quite profound:

When she was just a girl
She expected the world
But if flew away from her reach
So she ran away in her sleep
And dreamed of Paradise
Every time she closed her eyes

I understand the feeling of this girl (or even woman): she was hoping for so much from the world, but its ugly reality came crashing down, and it was difficult to bear. And so, her escape was to close her eyes and dream of Paradise, a truly wonderful place of felicity and peace. And it seems, when hearing the next stanza of the song, that her life was quite difficult and ugly indeed:

When she was just a girl
She expected the world
But it flew away from her reach
And the bullets catch in her teeth

Life goes on, it gets so heavy
The wheel breaks the butterfly
Every tear a waterfall

My God: her every tear is a waterfall. And so, it is natural that she would dream of Paradise, where she would at least be happy for a short time, "every time she closed her eyes." It makes me think of these hard times, when so many people are suffering from deprivation, hunger, war, famine: it is hard - nay, impossible - to endlessly endure such difficulty without having an escape of some kind. For this girl or woman, it was closing her eyes and dreaming of Paradise.

We should all try to do the same: try to find a place, whether in our mind, or in a park, or on a beach, or in our house, where we can escape the madness of this world and be in a sort of "Paradise." For me, this escape should be in my daily prayer: where I leave this world and enter into the presence of the Lord and have a conversation with Him. Yet, sadly, I am too weak for this to happen for me. My faith is not strong enough for me to go to Paradise five times daily. I am truly sorry for this, but I am what I am.

Yet, my own "waterfall tears" fell when I heard this part of the song:

In the night, the stormy night, she'll close her eyes
In the night, the stormy night, away she'd fly
And dreams of Paradise

I thought of my eldest daughter, who passed away on June 7, 2009. On the last night of her life, she was suffocated under the crushing weight of a "stormy night." The infection ravaged her poor, defenseless body, and she had no chance. And thus, later that morning, she "flew away" to her Lord. And I - along with my wife - was left crying out in unbearable pain at her loss. It has been more than two years, but it is still so hard. And when I heard these words in the song, I couldn't help but cry. This feeling is especially raw because her birthday is today: December 30. I miss her so much, and it is going to be quite hard working today, having to write 12/30 over and over again in my patients' hospital charts. Lord help me.

Yet, despite the darkness, there is always hope. Yes, every single day, my wife and I endure the pain of the loss of our daughter. But, the Lord has also blessed us, as His word states: "Verily, with every hardship comes ease. Verily, with every hardship comes ease." (94:6-7) He has comforted us a lot ever since that dark, dark day in June 2009. And thus, all of us, should never lose hope. There can always be a better day. It is just as the song says:

And so lying underneath those stormy skies
She'd say, "I know the sun must set to rise."
This could be Paradise

While I don't think this world - as a whole - "could be Paradise," still, there is always hope. We must always hold on to hope, because without hope, it is quite hard to keep going in the midst of the darkness of this world and, in fact, the human condition. Without hope, there is no way I can endure working today, my late daughter's birthday. Indeed, the "sun must set to rise," and just as, God willing, I will make it through this terrible date, we shall, God willing, make it in the end. That is because, the Lord our God is an Awesome God.

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