Today I went to the mosque to take some time out and relax because life has been very stressful and I have felt very alone in my faith. It was really peaceful and quiet, mostly because I was the only sister there, but it wasn't scary or terrifying like it is when you go into a church on your own. It was a happy silence - a loving silence and a forgiving silence.
I did wudu (ablution) and then tried to pray in the usual manner but couldn't remember all the words, so I just went down on my knees and prayed that way. I felt a great sadness flow over me that was so strong I almost cried, although I had no idea why I was so sad. I think it was because I recognized my faults and my sins for the first time and realised that I am not a perfect Muslim or even a very good one, and also because I just wanted someone to guide me without judging me or trying to force their opinion on me.
The praying itself was surprisingly cleansing, although I think I could honestly spend all night on my knees praying - I just have a compulsion to pray all the time, to spend my life on my knees. I'm not saying that's what I'll do - after all, I've got an education to get and a life to lead etc - but I think I just want to pray more than I did when I was a Christian. It's a nice feeling to be able to say "I want to pray" not "I have to pray". Allah is more accessible than God is, and He is a lot friendlier - just my opinion.
Other than praying and going to the mosque, today's been relatively quiet. I've borrowed some books about women and traditions regarding them from the mosque, so I hope to be able to read them over the weekend. My knowledge of Islam and Arabic is growing slowly and I can recognise some words and phrases. I am also trying to find the courage to tell my family that I have converted to Islam, but i think it will take a great deal of prayer and thought before I find the words to tell them.
I had a conversation with my parents today that slightly annoyed me. My fiancé and I sent out invitations to our wedding in December 2012, and at that point we said "If anyone is not on the guest list, they will not be invited". We also told my parents this, but sadly the concept of a final guest list has evaded them. They telephoned me today to have a general catch up, and then they decided to ask me if they could add another 5 people to our guest list!!! Erm ... no! If you wanted them on the list you should have told me in December when I sent out the invitations, not in February when I've finalised my guest list, sent out the invitations and sorted out payment schedules!
I will pray for my parents and pray that they will respect my decision, although sadly I doubt this will happen. My parents have been very difficult to deal with throughout my teenage years, and I doubt that it will get any easier now that they are getting older (my mother turns 66 this year, and my father turns 58 this year) and I am beginning to say "no" to them. You will be pleased to hear that I said "no" to the 5 extra guests - it's my mother's hairdresser and her family - and that I will continue to say "no" to things that I do not agree with.
So, tomorrow will be a reading day and possibly a praying day too. Assalamu alaikum.