Everything worth doing is hard – She’s said it each time they stared at her, eyes glazed over when she asked them to memorize another aya, to go back and rewash a tray that was still greasy, to put away laundry. And the idea was to instil a sense of hard work, to face daily tasks and chores without feeling defeated by their very existence but she worries ‘is that sentence even true?’
Everything worth doing is hard.
But sitting with your mother at the kitchen table, eating picked lemons and pita bread, listening to the story of an old prophet, is easy. Closing your eyes and standing behind your father as he recites Quran in a lyrical voice, cadence rising and falling with emotion, with the heaviness and the unbearable lightness of the message, takes no effort at all.
So is it only that she hasn’t succeeded at making the worthy easy? That she turns these moments of wonder, these little meditations, into chores to be checked off a list? In her soul, she wants to Vulcan mind-meld the peace a repeated remembrance gives her. Wants to give her children that peace so they too, can know it, but the peace is lost in translation, in the sound waves as they leave her mouth and travel across the kitchen island to her children, eyes glazed over, dutifully agreeing to their next task, their next chore, but where are their hearts?
She wants to ask her mother whether her heart was always in it, even though she already knows her mother will laugh, will say ‘are you kidding me do you not remember every time I had to remind you to get up and pray every time I had bribe you into reading your Quran into saying your athkar?’ and she knows it’s always been hard and it will always be hard but somehow the universality of her story provides little balm to soothe the ache of her effort. How do you teach a child to love God in their every day moments? How do you teach a child to see the wonder of the poetry of a language that feels heavy on their tongue, that barely flows from yours?
Or is the secret to do it word by word, line by line, step by step until the words travel from the tongue to the heart and pump through your vessel with every beat?
Everything worth doing is hard but also rewarding, also magical, and there are a hundred ways to reach a goal and no way to know until you get there whether your wrong turns have totally derailed you or were only minor setbacks, and so you can only hope and hope and pray.