Ya’ll are still getting to know me but one thing you should know is that I have always had a strong intrinsic optimism that has helped me face life’s great difficulties. The second is that I love arts and crafts. It’s a bit like art therapy for me but without any direction.
When I was in law school I celebrated finishing my first semester by getting Pinterest inspiration and creating something to remind me of my internal strength. So I made this living room centerpiece:
But overtime I have come to believe that all emotions are pendulums and eventually they all come swinging back.
Back in October 2017 my optimism fell to the lowest its ever been. Between the civil war in Syria hitting 6 years and the creeping one year anniversary of Trump’s horrific election to the presidency, I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. I tried to use arts and crafts as an outlet but I was not getting anywhere. The helplessness and hopelessness I was feeling was more complicated than arts and crafts and yet I am talented enough to paint.
Then one day I was at the crafts store and I stopped at the cross stitching aisle. I was an avid cross stitcher as a child but for some reason I had not picked up a hoop and thread in over a decade. Inspiration started to hit. I could not paint but that did not mean I could not draw with thread. I quickly bought aida cloth, a hoop, and a bunch of thread.
At home I sat and stared at a quote in Arabic that had been sitting with me for awhile:
حتى في بطن الحوت كان هناك أمل
It translates to:
Even in the belly of the whale there was hope.
It refers to story of Jonah and the Whale (a story both in the Bible and Quran). The quote was on my mind because I started to feel like Syria had been swallowed by a whale and we had lost her forever. But I kept repeating the last part over and over again in my head.
There was hope. There was hope. There was hope.
Jonah had been swallowed by a whale and everyone had taken him for dead. But he was alive and even in the belly of that whale he never gave up hope. And that hope and faith is what saved him. Hope and faith is what will save Syria. We can never give up for her and our families.
So I printed out a map of Syria and traced the lines on Aida. I freehanded the Arabic writing and found a Damask rose online. And for the first time in over a decade and without any direction, I cross-stitched. Here is the result:
And for the first time in a long time, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel.
I hope ya’ll can too. I hope this post inspired you. I hope we continue fighting, hoping, and dreaming.
P.S. You can buy the pattern now on Etsy!