By Sonya Rehman

God listens. God knows. God, within muscle and bone. 

In 2014, in the winter of my sibling’s year-long medical treatment, I lay in my bed heartbroken, unable to sleep. The loneliness was piercing, acute. It was only then did my self-imposed single-ness feel like an albatross around my neck. What was I punishing myself for, I thought, as I tossed and turned, warm tears dampening the pillow below my cheek. And then, parallel to the pain, I felt something surge through me – it felt like hysteria, it was feral and frightening. I sat up and prayed. I closed my eyes, placed my hands on my chest and prayed to God to help me lessen my burden; I asked God for a companion, someone sincere and kind who would stand by me and help me through my difficult patch. I prayed the Darood Shareef over and over, not keeping track of how many times I was reciting it…I prayed whatever little I knew by heart. This was perhaps only the second time that I’d prayed with such childlike fervor; my intention was strong – no trivial thought entered my mind, I disallowed my ego to goad me into being rational, because rationality is a poison, a death, to desire. I kept all negativity at the door of my heart and prayed. The repetition of  my prayer soothed me, I felt softened – wrapped in cotton wool, an otherworldly balm. I drifted off to sleep.

The next day, I awoke to a message from someone I didn’t know very well. He was direct and indirect, both, and asked me if there was a chance, a possibility. His words were soft and I remembered his kind face from our college days, his quiet charm.

I let the opportunity go because I was afraid.

He got married exactly a year later.

God listens. God knows. God, within muscle and bone. 



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