The weekend before last my children were psyched to watch a performance by Baba Ali. Had I known how much I was about to laugh I would have been just as fired up. If you can attend one of his live performances, don’t miss out. For my Florida friends, he is scheduled to perform on January 28th in Orlando. Here is the flyer.
My friend and fellow-faster, Nuriman, who directs a boy’s youth group in our area arranged the boys to meet and greet Baba Ali “back stage.”
How often do you meet someone in person who matches up to the positive impression you had beforehand? Baba Ali is that kind of person- the real deal. He is just as nice and down to earth face-to-face as he is on camera.
That night my family learned about the organization which hosted the event, known as Helping Hands for Relief and Development (HHRD). Its logo bears the statement, “Muslims for Humanity.” In this way, it is shares the ambitious goal of Islamic Relief Worldwide, another worthy cause. HHRD works in the U.S., Japan, Haiti, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Sierra Leone, and many more areas in the world.
It carries a stellar four-star rating by Charity Navigator. HHRD has created a matching gift program that operates with over sixty companies who will match their employees’ donations. I discovered that HHRD, among its varied relief programs, provides skill development for women, to empower them to provide a sustainable quality of life for their children. HHRD provides physical therapy and artificial limbs to patients in disaster areas. Also, through HHRD you can sponser an orphan for only $1/day. The organization not only looks after the child’s physical well-being but holistically provides for her education, protects her legal rights and even provides for social uplifting through extracurricular activities.
While I was giddy for my kids to meet Baba Ali, at the same moment, somewhere in the world there are single mothers who cannot find work to feed their children; there are mothers whose children have lost legs and need prosthetics; there are mothers who are not even alive to care for their children.
I have to reconcile with the notion that I am not somehow worthy to be set apart from all of these tragedies. I have to sober to the fact that just because these tears do not gather at my own doorstep, still, they gather. They are jagged, painful, heavy tears that a mother or her child is enduring at this moment.
At a stop light yesterday I idled near a Toys-R-Us. The sign said “Store Closing. Everything 40% Off.” I thought about my oldest son’s lego collection, that truck my three year old asked for, the doll clothes that my daughter keeps reminding me to buy. The parking lot was packed. My heart palpitated a little thinking about all the good deals inside and about how happy my babies would be to get a surprise (for a fraction of the cost). Maybe I could get even give them something ordinarily out of budget? I’m always inching to get that “good-mama” badge.
Then, I sighed thinking of my kids, with a basement full of toys, and friends, and warm, home-cooked meals at a family table every night. My kids have plenty, and then some.
And if you would count the favors of Allah you will never be able to number them, Allah is Forgiving, Compassionate. An-Nahl (The Bee), verse 18.
The real challenge is to remember the children who are not sitting at my table or any other table for that matter and to do something, without delay, as easy as making an online donate.
O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have earned, and of that which We have brought out of the earth for you. And seek not the bad [with intent] to spend of it [in charity]; and know that Allah is Rich, and Worthy of Praise. Al-Baqarah (The Cow), verse 267.