Write Your Own Script

April 22nd, 2014 @   -  No Comments

A few years ago, I sat beside an old man on a bench and he began to tell me about his life. He had an awful marriage. It was full of quarrels and arguments. He never really liked his wife. He did not like his job either. His kids lived far away and rarely visited him. His pension barely covered his basic living costs. All in all, he didn’t like anything in his life. With a trembling voice, the old man confessed, “My life has been a total waste.”  His story got me thinking and stimulated my imagination. I started to see my life as a movie and I am the writer of its script. When I am at the end of my life and someone sits next to me, what would I say to him or her?

I want you to imagine that you are at the end of your life and someone sits beside you, what would you say to them? Are you going to tell them an inspiring story or a sad story? What do you want them to see, think and feel?

Quran is full of stories of people who lived before us. These stories can be classified into two main categories. The first category is examples. The core message is follow the path of these people and do what they did. The second category is warnings. The core message is don’t do what these people did. Now think about your story. If it is included in a book, do you want people to use it as an example or as a warning? What would you like people to read about you? What type of spouse were you? What type of father or mother? What type of son or daughter? What type of friend or colleague? What accomplishment would you want them to remember? Would your story be a source of optimism and inspiration or a discouraging and cautionary one?

The only story in the Quran that is narrated from beginning to end is the story of Prophet Yusuf (AS). His siblings conspired to kill him, but threw him into a well instead. Then he was rescued by some merchants and sold off cheaply as a slave. He was bought by a very influential man whose wife sexually harassed him. Because of a false accusation, he was unjustly imprisoned for several years. While in prison, people asked for his help, presenting him with a big opportunity to seek financial compensation for defamation and the years he spent in prison. He was also able to bargain and sell his solution. However, not only did he provide the solution with no strings attached, he also led the team in its execution. In the end, he forgave those who conspired against him and invited them to join him.

When you think about those who have changed the world for the better and left a legacy, what are their main qualities? All of them (1) lived for a cause, (2) operated off clear values and convictions, and (3) put duty before rights. They didn’t ask, what’s in it for me? They asked, what can I do? How can I help? How can I contribute? How can I make things easier for others? How can I be useful? How can I do more?

I am sure your community is facing various challenges such as:

  • Moral decadence
  • Flawed education system
  • Poverty and hunger
  • Unemployment
  • Domestic violence
  • Drug and other addictions
  • Lack of affordable housing
  • Potential political and social instability
  • Environmental pollution (air, water and soil)
  • Lack of (proper) health care
  • Racism
  • Economic and financial crisis

And the list goes on. Depending on your situation, I am sure if you think hard enough, you can find a way to contribute. Having a vision does not mean solving all of the world’s problems or inventing the next big thing, but finding new and improved ways to do things or championing a just cause. Having a vision involves improving present conditions.

Now, imagine for a moment that you are at the end of your life sitting somewhere, and someone sits beside you, what story would you tell? Do you want them to feel sorry for you or inspired by you? Write your own script and live your life accordingly!

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