We Are Indeed Our Brother’s Keeper
As I reflected on my life, I realized that except for maybe a couple of years in my entire working years, I have always worked jobs that have put me in direct contact with people. My first job was that of office furniture representative. I had to go to businesses and do presentations of the brand my employer represented. After that I worked as an information hostess at Casablanca International Airport where I had constant interactions with people for about 8 years. There again I had to use good people skills to deescalate and diffuse anger and frustration of a passenger, or someone waiting for a passenger when a flight was delayed or cancelled. I also worked in telemarketing educational magazines to colleges, businesses, schools, etc. My first job when I came to America was operating and selling popcorn before our operation grew to a whole snack food concession that I ended up managing at Herald Square Building, corner of 34th street and 6th Avenue, in New York City. For 2 and half years after that I worked for an Art Gallery at the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas after I moved from New York City. When I relocated to the Pacific Northwest, I was able to go back to school and earn a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work which put me again face to face with people.
I can say with confidence that my field of studies, my internships in the field, and the year an half I worked as a mental health therapist in addition to the few years of hardship I had experienced prior to that due to my immigration status, have taught me the most valuable lessons about human nature.
As a mental health therapist I had the privilege to connect with people on an even more personal level. Only then did I really get to fully understand what God meant when He told Adam and Eve as related in in Chapter 20 verse 123 of the Qur’an “Descend ye from here (from Heaven to Earth) enemies to each another (You will be). And if there should come to you guidance from Me – then whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray nor suffer.”
For a long time, I used to think with sadness and a sense of helplessness “Why would God punish us in such a manner by making us each others enemies?” I was thinking more in the terms of nation against nation, country against county, tribe against tribe, etc. Through the stories that my clients shared with me in therapy I finally realized that God was not punishing us, but rather, He was warning us that if we do not head His guidance and commandments we become each others enemy, even to our closest relatives such as siblings and parents, due to our own selfish and self-centered nature. How come I did not perceive that before? Why did I not see my relationship to my mother from that perspective?
For a long time I thought that my mother hated me. I thought that forcing me into that marriage at age 16 was just to get rid of me. For many years, even after her death I would wake up with my pillow drenched in tears as I would dream of her being so cruel to me while being a doting mother to my sisters. I realized later on that she did what she did out of love thinking that that marriage would give me the opportunity to attain my dream of higher education which she knew that my father, as the sole bread winner in the family, could not afford to give me. My parents had made a contract with my first husband to allow me to stay in school for as long as I wanted to, and to not expect me to have children until I was done with my schooling. I stopped having those awful dreams where I would cry my heart out night after night, after I was able to look at things from my mother’s perspective. After all, her marriage to my father was arranged too. She did not like my father at first, but she grew to love him with time. She probably thought it would be the same for me. It wasn’t.
No, God was not condemning us to be one another enemy. He was merely warning us and foretelling what was going to happen because He knew that our selfish and self-centered nature predisposes us to be as such if we are not careful and don’t heed His guidance and His commandments regarding the mischief of Satan, the instigator of all things evil.
In my year and a half of practice as a mental health therapist, I had clients who related to me that they grew up hating their mom or their dad because they were sexually abused by a family relatives such as grandfathers, step grandfathers, cousins, brothers, etc. as a toddler or a young child. Their parent would dropped them off there so that he/she can go to work. The child would think that his/her parent have knowledge of what is taking place and were OK with it. Other thoughts and feelings such as guilt and shame would make the child keep it all in and not tell anyone. Over time It would eat at their soul day in and day out, so they would look for ways to alleviate the pain either through cutting, drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, etc. Their life would shatter and fall into pieces while the parent(s) try to figure out where they went wrong if the child has never told them what really took place during those grandparents’ baby sitting years. The gray and shaded areas of our lives when we hold things in and keep them secrets from each other are Satan’s favorite playground.
Love and Compassion are the only keys to unlock these areas and heal the pain and the suffering.