Let’s Start 2021 the Right Way

Updated: Oct 14, 2021

What 2020 taught us and what can we look forward to? Let’s start 2021 the right way!

Would you come after me with flames and pitchforks if I called this year a blessing?

It was taken over by lockdowns stopping us from stepping outside. Travel corridors and closed borders prevented us from flying. Eating out became a risk to our lives and others’. We lost jobs and drained money. Our dreams shattered and our goals drowned. Our businesses failed. Our health deteriorated. We parted from loved ones. We lost lives.

What good can we possibly make out of that? How different will next year be when that 0 becomes a 1?

The truth is, we may have felt better if we were the ones who pulled the plug on our goals and plans this year, as we’ve undoubtedly done in the past. We prefer to self-sabotage than have it disrupted for us.

See, we like to have a vision, a strategy. We dedicate time to look at our lives and calculate specific moves that will edge us forward. “If I do this, it will grant me that. And if I do this, it may push me back.”

"It was taken over by lockdowns stopping us from stepping outside."

Like standing on black and white squares on a board, our knowledge and insightful projections navigate us, one move at a time to reach the other side. We build relationships around us, hoping they too will help navigate us across, perhaps a rook here and a bishop there.

Today, we couldn’t even stand our King and Queen side by side without breaking the 6 feet apart rule. While this invisible player has spread across the world sweeping our pieces off the table altogether, I don’t believe the game has come to a halt.

In reality, our lives have been set in motion.

Instead of being switched on like machines around the clock, slaving for monetary gain and power grabs, we’ve learnt to have simpler, calmer days.

With isolation and distancing forced upon us, we’ve learnt the value of real connections.

By being made to stay home, we realised our jobs aren’t our identities and we have purpose without them.

We’ve learnt the art of being present in the moment, what it means to be a human being, not a human ‘doing’.

We’ve drawn attention to our mental health and our emotional state, mastering ourselves, our values and priorities.

What I can say is it has been humbling to see Allah’s (swt) power in creating an entity unseen to the human eye yet with vigour to completely disrupt the course of our lives, shake us and turn the world upside down.

A capability to end people’s jobs, keep us indoors when our livelihood is outside, keep us stuck when we’re packing to leave, leave us no choice when we thought we had options. Who are we to believe we can have a sense of influence like that?

And if there is a worldly gain that brews for those at the top of the chain in this pandemic, it is only by Allah (swt) that it is made to happen and only He knows how it will play out for them and for all of us.

While it may be true that we lost a lot this year, it can only make us turn our heads and hearts to Him so that we can know Him as the Giver, to the One who created everything from nothing, all in place for His ultimate plan. The Plan that can alter all our plans.

We flap our hands in places so far, trying to grip stronger for control and security when Allah (swt) who grants these is closer to us than our jugular vein, waiting patiently for us to hold onto Him instead.

The One closer to us than the flow that connects directly to our heart, that carries oxygen, our lifeline.

Isn’t He the highest form of protection for our life?

With that, it has helped me to truly understand what it means to have Tawakkul. To trust in His Plan even if it looks nothing like what we had imagined. Even when it’s so different from what we believe we want. Ultimately, His Plan is what will take place, not the ideas in our minds, or even the desires in our hearts.

We are still free to dream and aspire for all the things we want, but we aren’t chained by them. We aren’t slaves to them. We are only tied to the Creator of them all – and through it we experience the truest freedom.

So we may be making moves on the board, one square to another, but He is the One truly advancing us and setting the game in motion.

And I find comfort in that beautiful notion-that we may choose positions that lead us to blessings and wins, and He will grant it. Or we may choose positions that end in our fall, yet we have the One who will catch us. Ultimately, always leading us back to Him.

Now we can know that it doesn’t matter what 2021 brings us; with our fingers on the chess piece, Allah’s got our game perfectly in place - exactly where it should be.


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