Today I’m thinking about my eye. My right eye, to be exact.
Shortly after returning to the United States following my 9 months in the Middle East, I had eye problems that required emergency surgery. A detached retina which needed to be reattached post-haste. I was fortunate to have the diagnosis and surgery accomplished within hours after the problem appeared.
Recovery has not been as quick, and today I learned that I now have a cataract in that eye as a result of the surgery. I was warned about the risk before the surgery. I will need more surgery to fix the cataract.
There are different ways of looking at our misfortunes in life.
- We can sit and grumble and stew until we have developed ulcers.
- We can fret and gnaw our teeth and have a temper tantrum.
- We can analyze the situation, considering all the possibilities and options.
- We can stomp our feet and yell “Why did this happen to ME!*!
- We can ignore the problem and hope it disappears.
- We can shrug our shoulders and say “oh well”.
- We can try to get even — an eye-for-an-eye.
- We can be thankful for the blessings we have and think about the future in a different way.
If this eye problem had occurred last summer, I don’t know how I might have responded. Today, I’ve decided to be thankful for my blessings. And I think my trip to Gaza has a lot to do with my decision.
For months, I watched many new friends and acquaintances in Gaza coping under the most stressful and difficult of situations. They couldn’t find a job. Their house was destroyed during Israel’s bombing in November. Their request for travel abroad to study was denied. A family member died in the West Bank and they were prevented from traveling to the funeral. Their father was imprisoned in an Israeli jail under administrative detention (no charges, no evidence, no trial). Their leg was amputated years ago when an Israeli bomb struck the house and it collapsed on top of the children. Children were orphaned as a result of the occupation and fighting. And a young man who lost his eye when he was struck by shrapnel.
I’ve met ALL of these people personally. I can see their faces in front of me today. And none of them complained or yelled in anger or gave up. They all, each and every one of them, were thankful for the blessings Allah has given them.
I don’t know Allah. But I feel my new friends in Gaza have made me a better person. Shukran!