Looking for Balance…

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I hate goodbyes, and this time of year is especially hard for me because after today I will be away from University life until September, and so this is going to be my shortest reflection. There are always positive things to look forward to and things from the past to reflect upon. I can still remember this time last year when the end of summer term dissolved with lockdown and working from home becoming one and the same thing. It was difficult to tell when was the last day of term and when was the first day of summer holidays. Being stuck indoors and behind a screen, without meeting anyone else face-to-face really took its toll on my health and mental wellbeing. Don’t get me wrong, it was nice to get to spend more time at home with the girls- but we were all testing each other’s limits! I remember when my little Hannah kept saying, “when will nursery open?!” But I also remember the casualties of the pandemic. I remember how we had waves of casualties, and how the second wave was worse than the first. The first wave – we didn’t know what to expect and so we might have been more careful, but the second seemed to blindside us through a false sense of security. I had to ask myself, did I learn anything from the first wave, or did we collectively become complacent. Maybe a bit of both or maybe there was a lack of balance…?

Islam teaches me to be moderate and balanced in every aspect of my life, whether it be in religion, worship, relationships, ideas or even daily activity. Principled moderation is one of the defining characteristics of behaviour in Islam. In chapter 2, verse 143 of the Holy Qur’an Allah says – “thus we have made you a justly balanced community that you will be a witness of the people and the messenger shall be a witness of you…” According to commentators this means, the justly balanced place is at the furthest point from two extremes. The two poles of excess and extravagence are destructive, so that to be moderate in character is to be furthest from them- which is to be just and to be virtuous.

This is probably going to be one of the biggest goals of my life, to find that balance. Looking ahead, I think we can only hope for a better future, and even though we long for a sense of normality, our new normal will be very different to what we were previously used to. I look forward to a thriving university campus with staff and students everywhere, and I look forward to the group events that we used to hold on campus, with the odd online meeting here and there just to balance things out. I believe we need variety in our lives and some kind of balance, whereby we balance the family time with the time with friends, with the time with work. We balance working (and studying) from home with on campus activities. And don’t forget there can be times when some things become imbalanced, at this point the objective is to try and redress that balance.

See you after the summer!

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