Debra Schubert has walked through the storm with patience to move forward in healing
“Sabr el Muftah, el jenna” is my favorite Arabic adage. It means, “patience is the key to paradise.” My name is Debra, and unless we’ve spoken about it, you would likely never know that I am Muslim. In 2002 I started a twenty-year journey toward paradise – peace within myself.
This journey stems from having experienced my fair share of oppression, many acts of which I inflicted on myself. I am not here to compete in the oppression Olympics, except to say that for a very long time, I believed that I was not worthy of tasting the sweetness of life. When I converted, I felt that I could never be completely celebrated as a Muslim, and I was torn about my relationship with the hijab (scarf). Verbal and non-verbal body language let me know that I was seen by the wider society as deviant and a traitor. Even now that I removed hijab, I am somewhat perfidious, because I’m not easily categorized. I am acculturated as an Arab Muslim but socialized in Canadian society, and my family encompasses all Abrahamic faiths. I have been told that I am a renegade appropriating a culture that is not mine; and to my fellow Muslims, I am a Jewish Zionist and can never truly be trusted.
I have worked diligently correcting the tropes that I had come to believe about myself as a Muslim convert, and in May of 2015, I packed up my socially constructed box and threw it out the window. It has taken me decades, but in 2020 I officially stepped into my power. In doing so, the biggest lesson I learned was that in order to heal, you have to walk through the storm with patience. This doesn’t mean passively await change because patience is a verb. It’s a muscle that I had to train to taste the sweetness in life that I had been looking for. And it’s okay to slip or regress – in fact, it’s a necessary part of the journey. Just make sure you don’t stay there. Take stock of where you were, acknowledge your achievements and give yourself the grace to move forward, peacefully and with beautiful patience.
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