By Omar Sallam, Community Care Specialist
Are you unsure of whether you can keep going? Fearful of pursuing a path of self-development and growth? Consider the lessons that Hagar taught us....
Pacing back and forth is a common sign for both excitement and worry. Some people can’t sit still waiting for a loved one at the airport. The last five minutes of an important game can witness a coach shifting back and forth as well. While others might not move physically, their racing hearts assimilate the pacing motion. You may perceive them as calm or cold but the restlessness of their hearts carries them further than the strongest legs.
If this doesn’t seem intense enough imagine having both the heart and body pace together but in a novel, scary and sensitive situation. Centuries ago Hagar carried herself back and forth as her infant son cried from thirst. Uncertain what to do she moved her noble soul back and forth between the mounts of Safa and Marwa.. Although trusting God fully she was pacing both outwardly and inwardly. Inwardly touched by her son and outwardly back and forth between the hills of Safa and Marwa.
Her courage, care, and model is celebrated annually by millions of Muslims who go to Hajj (pilgrimage). Her story can teach us something about our hearts in that they go back and forth continuously. Sometimes they leap forward with confidence or retreat in a corner with hesitancy. Sometimes they burst with energy, other times they’re captivated with fear. It can be draining to maintain momentum or get out of a funk. It can feel shameful being alone with doubts, failures, or aspirations. Hagar’s footsteps teach us to keep going because although we too can be unsure today, there will be a time when we quench our anxieties. In life, the only constant is the fluctuating state of the heart and conditions so let’s resolve to keep moving forward and that if we need to turn back we will do so inspired by her.
There might be a final important lesson in her great story. We might often have to go away, travel, or face an unknown to be able to face our hearts and give them a chance to grow. Mundane life doesn’t allow the hearts to reach their potential always, hence pilgrimage. What does pilgrimage teach us in our daily life? Be a seeker for the growth of your heart. Take the time to do that weekly, or monthly, or yearly. Find your heart so you can find higher meanings so you can journey in this life like the great ones did before.
Omar Sallam has a Diploma in Social Services and degree in Human Services. He is currently pursuing a Masters of Theological Studies with a focus on Pastoral Care. Omar has a deep awareness and passion for mental health and community challenges. He has 15 years of experience working with minority communities in Canada in various youth and communal settings.