The Qur'an states that there are ayaat on earth, and in ourselves, if we could only see them (51:20-21). Ayaat on earth are signs in the landscape, if you will. But last weekend, at Marvin Gaye Park, we were working on the hardscape not the landscape. So are there ayaat in the hardscape, as well? i.e. lessons for us to learn about ourselves and about life.
My blisters are healing now. Making it that much easier to type this blog post, to say nothing of my other daily chores. And though my muscles are still a little sore, it’s a gratifying kind of pain. It reminds me of the good work we were doing and the good people we were doing it with last weekend.
What does that word, work, mean for those of us who are more used to wielding pens and pencils than pickaxes? Or more used to prying open laptops with a quick click and flip, than prying through asphalt with crow bars and digging holes in what seemed like impenetrable urban soil...
Physical labor is hard but satisfying work. Our minds and our bodies crave it when we don’t get enough. Both for the respite it gives us from the cognitive gymnastics of the work or school week and for the subtle lessons learned in the process.
Here are the lessons I learned from last weekend’s hardscaping. Foundations take time to lay. The first step is the hardest. Teamwork makes it easier and more fun. The work happens largely “underground.” Inconspicuous at first, as it moves slow and digs deep. But it sets the stage for more rapid and upward progress, insha’Allah.