I Don’t Look Like What I’ve Been Through

I don’t look like what I’ve been through, but I pray like I’ve been through it.
I pray while remembering crying so hard my cheeks burned from my salty tears. A homeless shelter was my destination with a 5-month old in tow. I pray like the room I slept in at the homeless shelter became my office years later. Allah brought me back to the same place, a new way, an employee not a resident. I pray like I’ve had to take out a restraining order. He choked me, pushed me into a wall until it caved in & stabbed himself in the leg afterwards. I got the restraining order free cause I “petitioned to sue as a pauper”. Basically, I could prove I had food stamps. I pray like a man I loved pulled my mouth apart until my lips cracked. It felt so barbaric.

I pray like I hid $2000 in my infant son’s diaper pail in the shelter. I figured no one would think his crap was worth anything. I pray like a man I loved took money I saved to get a car & used my money for his benefit.I found out when he told me what he did. I pray like I had a Momma who helped me get a car anyway. I pray like I’d rest in the examination rooms while doing my clinical residency cause my blood pressure would be so high I couldn’t stand. I refused to go to the hospital cause they always admitted me & I couldn’t get the clinical hours needed from a hospital room. I pray like I had elder women who protected me when I didn’t have sense enough to know I was in harm’s way.

I pray like the masjid came through for me when laid off. I pray like I graduated & didn’t have my degree cause I owed the school money. I pray like I have my all of degrees in my possession. I pray like I’ve seen a child I raised make decisions I don’t like & I have to figure out a new way to love him. I pray like I’ve called my aunt while driving, pulled over, and said, “Don’t say anything. Just let me cry.” She did. I pray like I struggle with narcolepsy & try to live like I’m “ON” & alert when my sleep disorder has cut me off from you. I pray like I’ve shown a child, a burn victim, my vitiligo so she wouldn’t hide her talents behind her scars. I pray like I’ve watched a man I love go blind & still see God in his life. I pray for my mother who suffers from dementia & continues to find evidence of God’s grace in her life even when she can’t remember her own children. I pray like this cause I’m in awe of My Lord & unceasingly grateful.
I don’t look like what I’ve been through, but I pray like I’ve been through it.- Naa’ila © 2017I

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