By: Sara Moselhy Bilingual Caseworker
I remember the day I felt helpless. I was dealing with a complicated case in my first month of work. A refugee claimant woman with four children. She fled her country because of threats and abuse. The woman called us for assistance and her needs far exceeded what we could offer. I was trained that our focus is financial assistance for individuals to reach financial stability, but she needed way more than that: legal help, psychological treatment, health coverage, moving, and many more. I was limited by the scope of my role and knowledge, but I felt that it was my responsibility to “fix” her problems and to make her life better. I felt helpless, and for days, her voice and her crying haunted me. I felt weak.
One day, I walked into the office and waited for her call to ask me what she should do. I sat at my white desk glimpsing at my phone every few seconds, waiting for it to ring. I didn’t know what I would tell her. I had spoken to a lawyer regarding her case and it was much more complicated than I thought, and I did not want to be the one to break the news for her, to tell her: Listen, there isn’t a solution for your problem and if there is, it will take you years and years. After a few minutes, she called.
I greeted her and waited for her question about updates from the lawyer. I tried to make up sentences as to what to tell her and how to direct her, but I couldn’t help but think about myself: Is she going to think we (NZF) are no good?
I gathered my thoughts and decided to tell her exactly what the lawyer had told me. She remained quiet. Shocked. I ruined her hopes and I brought her bad news. I told her that everything is in the hands of the government and that the process could take years. I told her that she might get deported back to her country. I told her that she might not receive further funding for the government. I told her that her kids’ health is at risk. I told her that I am sorry that I couldn’t help her. I told her that I feel like I’m not helping her and that I’m useless.
Amidst feeling weak and helpless, she said this: “Sara, you are a gift from Allah to me.”
“Sara, you are a gift from Allah to me.”
Did I hear this correctly? “Sara, you reminded me that everything is in Allah’s hands. He is our protector and he is the all-merciful and wise.”
This was during my third week of work. I learned my lesson. The lesson that created a baseline for months after and until now: We can only do our best, but everything is in Allah’s hands. We think that we can fix problems and that we can provide all the solutions. We think that we can make people’s lives better and easy. I forgot. I forgot that the matters of the people are in Allah’s hands; time is in Allah’s hands; solutions are in Allah’s hands. I am nothing but a messenger and an advocate. When I solve problems, it’s because Allah inspired me with the solution. When I make proper referrals, it’s because Allah put those people in my way. When I face hardships, it’s because Allah wanted me to learn. To trust Him and to never give up. To never feel weak if I have good intentions, if I’m doing what’s right, and if I’m being truthful.
اللَّـهُ وَلِيُّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يُخْرِجُهُم مِّنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ
Allah is the ally of those who believe. He brings them out from darknesses into the light. (Qur’an 2:257).
Always do your best, but remember to constantly pray for Allah’s guidance and protection, because everything is in His hands
. إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُ إِذَا أَرَادَ شَيْئًا أَن يَقُولَ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ ﴿٨٢﴾ فَسُبْحَانَ الَّذِي بِيَدِهِ مَلَكُوتُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ
His command is only when He intends a thing that He says to it, “Be,” and it is. So, exalted is He in whose hand is the realm of all things, and to Him you will be returned. (Qur’an 36:82).