O Allah, purify my heart

I think a lot of what I am writing about at the moment must be standing against me. There is a theme running through a lot my pieces, I know. That sense of disillusionment. Without a doubt it plays into those other topics I have written about, particularly the need to express gratitude. More and more I am recognising the extent of my ingratitude over recent years and I am really full of regret.

I have just been pondering on this because I have been asked to design a website for a particular organisation, but I found my initial response largely negative. Although I have long had a love for graphic design, I felt this was a task that I could not fulfil. Why? I suppose it was disillusionment again.

Between October 2001 and December 2003 I ran my own little business providing freelance publishing services. During that period I put together a number of websites and designed various books. All great opportunities; so why this negative disillusionment?

It’s a good question. I now work in a Primary Care Trust, spending my days toiling with metre-wide spreadsheets and Access databases. I find the work quite dull for it does not draw upon my creative nature at all, but it pays the bills I tell myself. This is the contradiction. I crave creative opportunities and yet fear drives me away from accepting jobs every time they are presented to me. What is this fear? Perhaps the fear that I will not do a good job, perhaps the fear that I cannot meet the high expectations of my clients.

In truth, I do not believe the origin of this disillusionment lies with my clients, although I may have projected this sense onto them in my mind; I believe it lies with dissatisfaction with myself. I have huge regrets. Some stem from my arrogance, some from incompetence, some from just being out of my depth. Yet all of these jobs were such great opportunities. My response should have been Alhamdulilah. I should have engaged with them in humility for the sake of Allah, but instead there is this sense of disillusionment.

There are sides of myself which I dislike immensely. Contempt and anger are some of them. Un-Islamic traits. Last night I saw it in myself as I drove my car; impatience, irritation and ingratitude. It is at times like this that I realise that the only cure for me is remembrance of Allah. I have much to learn and a great distance to travel. It is very sad: I have been Muslim seven and a half years, but it is as if it hasn’t been any time at all. What progress have I made? I think I can only weep.

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