I was coming down from climbing our local mountain with my hiking buddy. As we were walking, she kept looking behind her.

“What is it?”, I asked.

“I don’t know, something is there, but I don’t see anything.”

We both look and see nothing.

We keep walking and she turns around again, with a quick spin to try and catch whatever it is in action. Still nothing there. She was starting to be noticeably agitated that something was touching her, but nothing was there.

On about the third or fourth look, she saw my long cardigan was flapping against the back of her leg. Instantly she was relieved. The mystery was solved, and she could continue our walk in peace.

Watching the visible transformation of my friend by simply understanding what she was experiencing reminded me of this quote from Sydney Banks:

“Life is like any other contact sport. You may encounter hardships of one sort or another. Wise people find happiness not in the absence of such hardships, but in their ability to understand them when they occur.”

When we understand what is happening to us, we are no longer bothered by it.

When I shared this analogy with my friend on the walk she agreed, my cardigan was still flapping against her leg, she was aware it was happening, but it no longer bothered her.

Allah has said that He will test is with many tests, and we witness some coping well and managing to show up in their lives resiliently, while others are struggling to the point they find it hard to function.

What is the difference?

With the understanding of our human experience, we don’t need to suffer our tests. Yes, we will always have to face them and live through them, but whether we suffer through them is a choice.

When I was 19 weeks pregnant with my fifth child we became aware from the ultrasound that something was wrong. After extensive testing it was clear that she would be born to die. Her condition was unresolvable.

We had tears, many tears and the time leading up to giving birth to her was so conflicting because I wanted the discomfort of the pregnancy to end, but my comfort came with her death.

I was inspired to research about what happens to our children who die before puberty. I found solace in knowing that I would have one child in Jannah and that she would be calling for me to join her. I also reflected on how difficult our life would be if she lived and we had to care for her.

I could see the wisdom, that Allah does not burden us with more than we can bear.

I experienced her death as peaceful grief. I cried the tears of compassion as describe by the Prophet (peace be upon him). I felt blessed by the experience of having her.

I was able to choose not to suffer her death because I had the knowledge and deep understanding of my experience.