I grew attached to it: to the idea of getting a brand new car – the first totally new one I’d ever had (because the others were all hand-me-downs).
I grew attached to the very make and model itself. I would notice them all over the roads. They were so common – whereas in the past, I never focused on them. It’s natural, though.
We notice something a lot more when we ourselves have it. Or want it.
And that’s what happened with me.
This all stemmed from my Ramadaan Visionaire dua for a different car. (For those who don’t know, Shaykh Muhammad Al-Shareef’s Visionaire is a programme which helps you to practically hone your most important duas – supplications – into life focuses, with the aim of moving you forward towards fulfillment of those dreams.)
I’d always liked a different vehicle, but never realistically even considered if or how I could get one for myself.
So as the dua began the road to manifestation, I came to see that my dream car was in fact unsuitable. So I looked beyond my initially narrow focus. I was now seriously looking for a car – enabled by a promise that I would actually be able to get it. And as I got closer to choosing, it became clear that it was a green light.
Once I’d decided, I took more official steps. I test drove it. I was pretty much days away from purchase.
But I knew one big obstacle had not been dealt with. So I held back. And, sure enough, that obstacle arrived – throwing the proverbial spanner into the works.
Along with that came other life circumstances which were far more serious and taxing. The timing – I can’t help but think – was related.
In any case, things went forward, and the opportunity was still available – with the initial obstacle no longer much hindrance.
But the latter circumstance still weighed heavily, and depending on how things played out, it put very risky future consequences on the decision of whether to proceed with the car or not.
So – against my heart’s desire – I chose to kill the pursuit. I’d be better off safe than sorry. Especially given the delicate nature of the challenges ahead. I didn’t want to dig myself another grave…build myself another cage – as a result of foolish, selfish decisions.
And since that decision, I’ve felt sad at times. Especially early on.
I’d still see that new dream car all over. It would bother me. It would bother me that I could have been in one – with all the convenience, fuel efficiency, and style (because I loved the look). In fact, I could still decide to get one.
But my conscience wouldn’t allow me to. Not the way things are – with so much unresolved, and so dangerous a pitfall lined up if I choose selfishly and things in future don’t work out the way I hope they will.
Learning to let go
As the days passed, I came to realise that this car was something that was in my heart. Things of this world should be in our hands – not our hearts. Our true, sincere attachment should be to our Creator, and our Hereafter. Everything in this life is merely a tool – a vehicle – for us to do good, in the hope that we build a better permanent life on the other side.
And I realised that this car is exactly that – a vehicle, literally. It’s not something I would derive intrinsic pleasure from – because I’m not a motor enthusiast. I don’t drive for fun, and I’ve never particularly been into cars.
A car is merely a means of getting from once place to another…hopefully without trouble, and without too high a cost (maintenance and fuel).
Just like a phone: so many of us get so dazzled by the bells and whistles and glamour of the latest and greatest technology, yet in the end, a mid-range phone and a high-end one are pretty much the same thing: they serve exactly the same purposes. It’s just that one is a bit better at some things. It looks better, and is more prestigious to own.
But what we do with them – from phone calls, to using them to organise our lives, the camera, our connection to the world, etc….it’s all the same. An average R4,000 phone does the same things as a top-notch R30,000 iPhone. (Yes – I’m astounded at the prices of the newly-announced iPhones. I can’t see how anyone can justify spending so much on a phone. Especially when cheaper alternatives do the same job.)
Anyway – back to my point: these things are merely tools. They help us to do other things. Their excitement lies only in their superficial and psychological perks. Perks which, after a short time, fade away as we get used to having them, and as newer models come out six months or a year later.
So in the end, I guess this whole episode was simply a reminder for me. A reminder of how consumed we can become by the material – even though, intellectually, we know how false it really is. It’s the emotions that pull us in, and that’s what hooks us into a cycle of undeserved attachment.
So I move on from this with that lesson in mind. A lesson which, I hope, I will be able to remember and apply next time something major comes along.
P.S: No prizes for guessing how the title relates to the story.
PPS: Four months later, things changed, and I got the car – further entrenching the lesson that patience pays off.