It’s so easy when you get to be my age to think that your time is running out. You become obsessed with all the things you meant to do and now despair of ever doing.
But it’s a trap to think that we’re too old to start something new. I found that out when, at the age of 57, I converted to Islam.
When you’re young, death is inconceivable. You think you’re going to live forever. But then you keep getting older, and maybe your parents die, and some of your friends, and you realize that you could be next. It’s not a comfortable feeling.
When I was a Christian, I was told that I shouldn’t fear death because I had been promised eternal life. Many non-Muslims think that Muslims have no sense of security because Allah makes no such promises to them. But, being a Christian didn’t require me to think about everything I did every day. Now that I’m a Muslim, my every thought and act seems more significant.
My emphasis is on the here and now, because I know that this life is a test. My grade will be what happens to me after I die. But because Allah is merciful and compassionate, I know that He will treat me fairly.
I love the fact that Islam means “submission,” because I need to be submitted to Allah in order to do His will. If I’m not, I cut myself off from His guidance and strength. I fail to ask for His forgiveness in true repentance. and forget that I must start over every time I fall.
I’ve spent most of my life trying to figure out what my purpose for being is. I was so anxious about getting “there” (wherever that might be) that I lost sight of what I’m supposed to be doing along the way.
As a Muslim I now know that my purpose is to make the most of the journey. Allah will direct my path. My job is to stay on it.
O you who have attained to faith! Be conscious of God with all the consciousness that is due to Him, and do not allow death to overtake you ere you have surrendered yourselves unto Him. [3:102]