I hated being back in Ann Arbor. It made me feel awful in the worst ways. It made all the progress I made over the last four months go out the window in a matter of two days.
And so I am back in Canton and it feels like an incredible mercy. It feels like a hundred pounds have been taken off my back. It made me understand why people who come out of prison or out of rehab are supposed to find a new group of friends or a new place to go. At the end of the day, I am not going to negate the progress I've made as a person over the last few months. But I will admit that it is much easier to be a better, new and improved you when you are among new people and new places.
My new friends in Turkey helped me learn to be myself again and to get out of this cloud I had been in for so long. They helped me see that my real self was not an ugly and terrible person. I wrote this in my personal journal shortly after meeting one of my new friends, Remy:
"What a gracious love you give. The type only a stranger, only someone peripheral can offer. You know the best of me at this time. I could be your big sister. I could be your mentor. I envy you knowing me in this way. I wish I could know myself like this. With such a purity, with such a un-adultered love. Without the truth of my mistakes and shortfalls polluting every moment and every memory."
Forgiveness. This theme seems to be predominating my life these days. I've been so worried about forgiving others that I haven't left enough time to forgive myself. We all make mistakes. We make them every single hour of every single day.
One of my friends who recently came to visit in Turkey gave me a great little prayer book named The Abridged Al-Hizbul-Azam. I read this prayer today and it is one of my favorites and always gives me hope and strengthens my love for God.
"Oh Allah, you are my Lord; Nobody is worthy of worship besides you. You created me and I am your slave. I am honoring my pledge and my promise as much as I can. I beg your protection from the evil consequences of my misdeeds. I admit Your favours upon me and I also admit my sins. So forgive me, because none besides you has the power to forgive sins."