My appreciation of nature was something that came quite late in my life. As a child, I was privileged enough to have the opportunity to witness places like forests, parks, ponds, and tumbling fields of grass, hay bales, and canola. I did so without ever really taking a moment to digest what I was seeing. Yes, visiting such magnificent places was fun, but playing with my family and friends on the beach while watching dragonflies dance over the chilly lake water was even more fun. Looking back, I somewhat regret not taking a moment to really enjoy those moments by marveling in the utter beauty of our Lord’s creation.
Now that I am older and more aware of my surroundings, I do my best to appreciate everything I can; I try to find beauty in everything and, amazingly, it’s not that hard. All you have to do is look around, and you’ll find it.
Something interesting—and quite disheartening—I’ve come to realize is that although we are surrounded by nature’s beauty, we fail not only to appreciate it, but we complain about it too. We reprimand its existence instead of giving our thanks to the One who has honored us with its presence. From these observations, something that I have learned is: we are never satisfied.
Have you noticed that regardless of what the weather may be—whether it be a damp spring morning, a blazing summer day, a breezy autumn evening, or a frosty winter night—we are always dissatisfied? My experience in the workplace is what really brought this to my attention. Every day, we were required to treat our customers with kindness and respect; however, I’d find that no matter what the season was and no matter how beautiful (I thought) it was outside, they would always complain. Our conversations would go along the lines of:
Me: “Hi, how are you today?”
Customer: “I’m good, but the weather is (insert complaint)”
Me: “(insert excuse on behalf of the weather)”
Customer: “(insert sarcastic remark and/or another complaint)”
I hadn’t realize that people were never satisfied with their surroundings until after working there for a few years and witnessing the many turbulent weather changes accompanied by the turbulent changes in people’s moods. Even on a day where the sun was shining, the sky was clear, and the grass was glowing green, they’d still complain—and the sadder part was that I found myself starting to do it as well! It was just too easy to fall into the pattern of complaining about things over which I had no control.
It wasn’t until I removed myself from that environment that I thought: so what if the sky is grey today? So what if lightning and thunder are making their mark alongside the clouds? So what if the sun’s rays are shining in my eyes? So what if the snow is up to my knees?” Why can’t we learn to appreciate these moments? When will we be satisfied?
SubhanAllah (glory to God), we have become so accustomed to cursing the weather that we have failed to realize just how lucky we are: at least that last rainstorm wasn’t a tsunami. At least we can shield the dirt from blowing into our eyes. At least we don’t have to worry about the destruction that follows a volcano or the feeling of helplessness that accompanies an earthquake. At least we have jackets and houses to protect us from the sting of the cold… And the list could go on. Furthermore, imagine if weather was a static, unchanging, phenomenon—something that was constant and consistent throughout the year—how boring and dull would that be? And yet, there is diversity in the phenomena that we experience daily; a diversity that is both pleasing to the eyes and comforting to the soul.
Alhamdullilah (praise be to God), I have learned that we will obtain satisfaction once we become grateful to the One who decreed the storm to pass and the water to flood. That is to say that satisfaction will come, bi’ithnillah (by the will of God), after not only recognizing and appreciating nature’s beauty, but giving thanks to the One who willed it to be.
And Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala (glorified is He) knows best.