Route 80

PART II

As I sat in the warm truck waiting for the truck driver to finish securing my car onto the tow truck, I found it interesting how the tow truck actually works. After the chains were shackled to the car, the truck bed tilted up, the car was pulled onto the bed. With the push of a few buttons (and some shaking of the whole truck), the bed was level again, and the car was secure. The driver door was opened and the tow truck driver took his seat. I tried to not overthink the conversation and just make it flow, because as I look back, when I overthink conversations, it builds up awkwardness, but if I just allow the conversation to flow, with no real plan, then its more natural.

I’m not sure who started the conversation, but after the usual “small talk” people usually start off with, i.e. about the weather and the expected snow storm anticipated for tomorrow, the conversation died and all I knew was that his name was Kevin. Out of nowhere, I decided to ask a super deep question and just see where the conversation goes (without thinking too much about it). I asked him, “If you didn’t have to worry about finances, what would work as?” Kevin’s answer really surprised me and the conversation that ensued after was truly amazing. He said, “An EMT worker because I like to help people.” It’s interesting because I guess that is where he finds joy in working as a tow truck driver, because he gets to help stranded people (like me) get home.

We ended up talking about so many interesting topics, from how amazing it is how snow is formed, to how storms happen, to how people learn in different ways, to friends and their effects on our life’s decisions, to corporate America (and apparently how even blue collar jobs are just as stressful as corporate America!), to religion, to traveling and then finally to one’s passions in life. The thirty-minute care ride ended up being an hour, but within that hour I learned a few interesting things from Kevin that I wish to share:

  • It doesn’t matter how grand or minute your life goals are, as long as it’s something that brings you joy, that is what is important.
  • “You can achieve anything you put your mind to. Nothing can you stop you from achieving anything.”
  • It’s just as hard for a man to find a woman that has values, as it is for a woman to find a man that has values. (For a 28 year-old pure white-American dude to be saying this, was definitely news to me. I told him, I thought Americans wait till they are in their mid to late thirties to settle down, apparently not!)
  • Some people, subconsciously, allow their friends to dictate their life’s biggest decisions. How? When you worry more about what your friends will think versus what you want in life!

When we spoke briefly about religion, Kevin brought up an interesting argument, which I never heard before. He said, “Why can’t people do good for the sake of doing good? Without the fear of going to hell or for the reward of paradise?” I tried to get a deeper understanding of his argument, because why did it matter to another human being where one sought the reward from? Because the reward was coming from the Creator, not from His creation. But I couldn’t follow his train of thought.

The whole ride I was thinking, this is a really interesting conversation, what message is embedded in it for me? Because every person we come across in life teaches us something. It is a give and take. There is a reason Allah (swt) allowed our paths to cross. A message for me and for the other person, it is never a one sided message. I picked up on a few hidden messages for myself, I wonder what Kevin picked up on?

On a daily basis, our paths cross with so many people that we never give it a second thought. But every single person you come across is there for a reason. The mail man, the bistro worker, the person you sit next to on your train/bus ride home, your coworkers, etc. Just like Allah (swt) allowed your paths to cross, He could have allowed them not to cross. Did you ever ask yourself why? What message, lesson or blessing is in this person’s life crossing my path?

My Take Away Message on Qadar – Decree

SubhanaAllah, all I was seeking from that day was to go out, conduct the interview, and come back home, but Allah (swt) had different plans for me. That is how our lives become, we think we will attain certain goals, or have certain things in life, but Allah (swt) decides otherwise. What we do in the moments after the decree comes, is up to us. I could have taken this very same situation and had a completely different reaction. I could have gotten extremely frustrated when my car stopped. I could have gotten angry and just focused on everything that went wrong. “Why is my car giving me issues right here, out in the middle of nowhere? What am I going to do now? The towing is going to cost so much money?” and the list can go on. But would any of those questions change my situation? Would they make my situation easier to handle? Absolutely not. I would have just been one angry hijabi that got her car stalled on the side of the roadway.

Guard your thoughts, because your thoughts become your emotions, and your emotions dictate your experience.

May Allah (swt) allow us to always see the good in every situation that He has chosen for us. Ameen.

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