Count your blessings

Today was a very special day. Mariyah’s uncle and aunt were driving in for the weekend, and she was looking forward to seeing them. Her uncle and aunt had the best of stories for her, and they always got awesome gifts for the entire family.

Mariyah had fluffed up the pillows in the guest room to make sure they were perfectly comfortable. She had also put books on the night stand in case they wanted to read. Mariyah’s mom had given her a list of jobs to finish before the guests arrived. So far she had finished all but one. The dreaded laundry.

Mariyah hated folding clothes. She didn’t understand why her parents made such a big deal about it. Why couldn’t she just pile them into her closet. Who looks inside there anyway?, she thought.

She was about to go to her room, when she saw her big brother heading outside. ‘Hey Ali, where you off to?’, asked Mariyah.

‘I’m going out to do the weeding. Wanna come?’, he said.

‘Yes!!!’ Mariyah jumped at the chance. Anything to get out of laundry duty. She sat on the grass, holding out a bucket, so her brother could dump the weeds in it. He was humming as he yanked out the unwanted plants. ‘Do you like weeding, Ali? It seems kinda boring to me.’, remarked Mariyah.

‘No, not really. I’d really rather be playing basketball’, replied Ali. ‘Or even mowing the lawn instead’

‘Then how come you do it as soon as Mom or Dad ask you to?’, wondered Mariyah.

‘I guess it’s because it’s easier to just get done with my chores quickly. I need to do it anyway, so it’s better to be in a good mood while I do it.’, explained Ali.

‘Hmm, that makes sense I guess. But I don’t know if laundry can ever put me in a good mood’, Mariyah said.

Her brother put down his tools and sat on the grass. ‘Sit with me for a bit, Mari. You know, what’s my favorite ayah in the entire Quran? It’s the one from Surah Rahman that goes,“So which of the favors of your Lord would you deny?”. Whenever, I think of all the favors Allah has bestowed on me, I feel silly about complaining about something as tiny as weeding. So to make Mom and Dad happy, and to be grateful to Allah, I prefer to get it done quickly. And while weeding, I sometimes recite that line to myself so I don’t feel frustrated. It’s worked so far for me. Maybe you’d like to try it sometime?’, suggested her brother.

‘Well, I suppose there’s no harm in trying. And you’re right, I don’t want to sound like I’m moping. I mean, I am happy that I have clothes to wear in the first place!’, exclaimed Mariyah.

‘There you go, sis. Thinking of those favors already, that’s more like it.  And since you helped me with the weeding, I’ll fold some of your clothes with you right after we’re done. Deal? That way it’ll get done faster too.’, encouraged Ali smiling.

Ali and Mariyah finished the weeding and then went on to fold her clothes. Just as they were done, they heard their aunt and uncle drive up to the house. Mariyah grinned. ‘You’re right about Allah’s favors Ali. I’m super thankful for our relatives. And here they come bearing gifts!!’, she said rushing down to greet her family. Ali shook his head and laughed.