By Megan Wyatt
‘I’ve cried in a lot of places during the “holiday season.” As a convert who left behind many traditions that come with the holiday season, I was left with longing and, sometimes, loneliness. I wrote an ebook, shared below, to help others in the same boat. One year I remember hearing a Christmas song playing while eating lunch out with my husband and kids, and just like that, the nostalgia hit me and I just welled up with tears. It’s been over 20 years since I became Muslim and it’s taken about that long to finally not feel sad.
My life is rich, alhamdulilah, as is my family life and our own traditions and so I am happy and content. But the feeling is still there sometimes. It’s a sign of beautiful memories with my family growing up. It’s part of the test that a convert goes through. We don’t need pity or to pity ourselves. We’ve chosen the greatest gift there is in the world: the know our Creator as He truly is. But compassion goes a long way. Suggestions to ease this time of year for converts you might know:
1) Drop a text or a phone call to anyone you know who is a convert. Let them know you recognize this time of year is difficult for many converts and ask how they are doing. Maybe invite them out for some of those seasonal flavors of coffee, cocoa, and desserts!
2) If you are married to a convert don’t shame them for their feelings. Don’t talk about how all those traditions are rooted in haram ideaas, pagan history, etc etc etc. They know. They get it. They chose Islam, remember? Instead, offer a hug, maybe take a drive just to look at lights together, and listen. Just listen. Part of grief is just feeling and processing. Be gentle.
3) Consider hosting gatherings in your home somewhere between 12/24-12/27 to give converts something positive to look forward to. Make it a potluck or just make all your friends cook and say “converts come free handed!” Trust me, the gestures will be really meaningful for them.
4) Remind converts of all the positive ways they can and should stay connected to their families during this time. Many teachers encourage people to still attend holiday dinners and lunches in order to maintain familial ties. Educate yourself on this subject with teachers who are in touch with the converts in their community. (Do not copy/paste fatwas from people who live in muslim lands who have no idea how to support converts!)
5) Download the ebook or share this post with others: http://marketives.com/client/holidayseason/download-page/e-book/WhenHolidayNostalgiaCreatesSaddness.pdf