The Lesson

The Lesson


A few nights ago, my sister approached me
In her nightdress, golden hair loose and free
Her brow was drawn, her mouth set in a frown;
Never before had I seen her so down.

“What’s wrong little sister?” I asked concerned
She looked at me as if I was someone wise, learned
“I have a hard question to ask you” she said, timid, afraid
“One that has been bothering me all this long day.”

I was confused, with questions she always came
They spanned across every subject you could ever name.
I always answered them easily, so simple they were to me
How much more difficult could this one really be?

She sat down on the couch, snuggled up close to me
She laid her fair head on my firm knee
So long she lay there, silent, I began to fear
That she had fallen asleep, right then and there.

But finally she spoke, and the question was like a knife
“Big sister, what is the purpose of our lives?”
I stared down at her, blank, confused, stunned
Never in my life had I felt so deflated, chastened.

My sister thinks the world of me,
She always looks up to me
What would she think if I didn’t know the answer?
And why, I thought, did it really matter?

Then I realised, I thought myself high
Because I knew more, my head was up in the sky
Floating around in the clouds overhead,
I wasn’t paying attention to my future ahead

I thought about the answer requested of me
“What is the purpose in life? What did it mean?
I felt confused, drained, and weak
I felt afraid, insecure, and meek

I looked down at my sisters golden head
I fingered her thick locks, my heart full of dread.
But finally, “I’m not sure,” I quietly answered
She looked up, “Ask Mother,” she said.

I did as my little sister advised
And my Mother looked at me, surprised
“That is the second time I’ve been asked that today,”
“The first time was your sister,” she said, to my dismay

I knew then that this was all a test
A lesson by my sister to prove I’m not the best.
A lesson to prove that I don’t everything there is to know
And it was the greatest lesson on me, my sister could bestow

I had been proud
I had had my head in the clouds
Now that it knew that
The answer that I sought was… what?

My Mother began to talk and I listened
Eager to learn what was life’s great lesson
What is our purpose in life?
Why did we go through daily tests and strife?

Mother spoke slow and clear
I paid close attention, I was so sincere;
None of this precious information did I want to miss,
No information did I dismiss.

“The purpose in life,” My Mother began
As she talked, my features she scanned,
“Is to obey Allah (swt) our one, true lord
And to follow the Qur’an, our god’s word.”

“We should follow Islam every step of the way,
For every single minute of every single day
That my dear daughter is the purpose of our lives here
To worship our one god and ask him to bring us near.”

Mother made it so simple, so pure
And suddenly I felt so… secure
I knew the purpose of my being,
I knew the answer, the meaning

I kissed my dear Mother goodnight
Walked to my bedroom, turned on the light.
I said my Dua’s before getting into bed,
I read my Qur’an before resting my weary head

The next morning I was shy of my sister
Avoiding her all the way up to after dinner
I was in my room and she came to my door
With a question to ask, just like the years before.

Like the years before, I knew the answer
But this time that didn’t matter.
Yes, I had answers, many altogether
But this time I held out a hand instead,
Come little sister; let’s find the answers, together

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