Life is a great blessing of Allah.

I walked into Pine Street Inn, a shelter for men and women, holding Safiya’s tiny hand, hardly noticing that my grip continued to tighten as I walked through the shelter.Such different people — people who didn’t have adequate clothes, didn’t have food, didn’t even have a table to put food on, couldn’t own a house. I had always imagined what homeless people lived like, but on this trip, it finally came into perspective: it was real.

Life of People in Shelter Home:

Noticing dozens of eyes on me, I looked straight ahead, afraid to come into eye contact with anyone. I saw men, young and old, sober and drunk, sprawled across the floor sleeping, or leaning against the walls shouting at us, “helloo ladies.” Seeing them frightened me along with the rest of the MAS youth group.

However, as I continued to walk through the shelter with my group and guide, Scottie, my grip on Safiya’s hand began to loosen. Earlier I was glad to have a child’s hand to hold; it made it seem as though I was protecting her; however, I realized I was just trying to protect myself. Finally, my fears calmed.

My stomach felt queasy, not out of fear, but out of depression. My heart clenched trying its hardest to fight back tears. Unshaven men looked upon us with deep eyes. Their eyes seemed to tell the stories of their lives, stories so powerful my eyes could hardly meet theirs.

As I looked around more carefully, I remembered these men and women were people, people like me. But they weren’t like me. They didn’t even have the basic necessities of life. I started to feel out of place wearing expensive clothing and carrying a nice purse. God’s blessing over me contrasted with the surrounding in which I was. I began to realize how blessed I am.

Thank Allah for His Blessings In Life:

I realized how much we all take for granted, forgetting to thank God for the wonderful things we’ve been blessed with. Many of us fail to see the blessings of this life and focus on the negative aspects of life. Visiting the Pine Street Inn reopened my eyes to reality. I remember how many blessings have been bestowed upon me by God. Things finally started to come into perspective.

After leaving Pine Street, my outlook on life changed. One would say, “how can a person change from one trip,” but in reality, it is quite possible. I can hardly put into words what emotions have been going through me since I left, but my life has been greatly impacted. Before I say “my life is so hard!” I think back on what I saw at Pine Street. Alhamdullillah, all praises to God, my life is more than bearable. The Qur’an repeatedly states,

On no soul do We place a burden greater than it can bear.”

Thinking back on everything I saw, I admire Scottie and the others who work there. Whether one is volunteering or being paid for working there, it takes more than just money to get someone to work in a place like that. It takes a heart. It takes strength. Many times we lack this sympathy for others and forget about the world around us. Scottie and those like her deserve a lot of credit for having the drive to help others.

“Those who (in charity) spend of their goods by night and by day in secret and in public have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve.” (The Qur’an 2:274).

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