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Journey of a Thousand Miles: Healing in Solitude (Day 1)

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

—Chinese proverbflower clip art

The “Healing in Solitude” reflections offer a glimpse into the heart of Umm Zakiyyah, as she continues her emotional healing journey during the social distancing lockdown amidst the coronavirus epidemic. Each journal reflection represents a “new day” in her healing journey and/or a new day in the mandatory isolation of social distancing. The following is Day 1:

I sit in the stillness, locked away in my home, forced to spend “alone time” with my soul. They call it social distancing, and they say it’s to protect myself and others from harm.

I believe them. But then again, I don’t require much convincing.

It’s been more than four years now since I first began some social distancing of my own. And it was for pretty much the same reason as this current lockdown: to protect myself from harm.

I did a lot of healing in those four years of being locked away from the rest of the world. Or at least away from the world I was used to.

I needed time to process what had happened to me, and what was happening to me still.

But now as I sit in this quiet space creating a social distance between me and the rest of the world, I detect the restlessness within, and the aching voice inside me says, “You’ve still much healing to do.”

I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy journey or a quick one when I first quarantined myself away from the toxic relationships and environments that incited my deepest wounds. So I suppose it makes sense that I haven’t healed as much as I thought I had.

But I shift my thoughts to a space of compassionate presence and remind myself that I’ve come so far, and there’s so much to be grateful for.

And it’s true. I couldn’t count my blessings or measure the breadth of progress on my journey, even if I tried.

And at times, I do try. But I’ve come to accept that there are parts of the human spirit that not even the heart can see, so I’m making peace with holding on to what is in my reach.

Most times, my hands grasp a beautiful story of a spiritual refugee who has come so far in search of home. She has survived storms she thought she never could, and she has let go of things she thought she never would.

There were times she thought her suffering would tear the very life from her, and there were times that the darkness urged her to tear the life from herself.

But then her Merciful Creator intervened between her and her heart and allowed her to say, “I choose tomorrow today.” These words were told to her—to me—by a beloved companion who too had suffered amidst the tumultuous emotional storms of life, yet held on to the knowledge that “this too shall pass.”

I choose tomorrow today Affirmation for Compassionate Presence

But that restlessness within my heart tells me that my journey as a spiritual refugee is taking another road, an unexpected detour that I didn’t perceive on the roadmap of my soul.

Or perhaps it isn’t a detour so much as it is a hidden road that my Merciful Creator had initially shielded from my hurting heart. I imagine that in His infinite knowledge, compassion, and wisdom, He knew that I wouldn’t have taken that single step if I had known that my journey would be, in fact, more than a thousand miles.

You don’t have to struggle alone. Let’s work together:

Umm Zakiyyah is the internationally acclaimed author of more than twenty books, including the If I Should Speak trilogy, Muslim Girl, and His Other Wife. She recently launched her “Choosing To Love Alone” series via to support struggling believers seeking to nourish their emotional and spiritual health.

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