I love listening to my parents tell stories of what things were like when they were young. It always transports me back to a time that I can only imagine; A simple time, when people were free to walk around without worrying about getting robbed, kidnapped, murdered, or raped. A time when children could play in the streets for hours on end and parents didn’t have to fear for the safety of their innocent ones; A time when bread, milk and meat were bought on a day-to –day basis from the local shop around the corner; A time where neighbours knew one another, and treated each other like family. There were no high walls, barbed wire, electric fencing or high rise apartment buildings for that matter stopping people from knowing each other. It sounds like it was a humane time, where everything was simple and easy. And although people had very little in terms of material wealth, they seem to have had an abundance of things with real value.
As much as I love hearing my parents speak about those times, I can’t help but feel sadness. See, I’ve always thought that I actually belonged in those times instead of these times. And I know that we should be grateful for the times we are in because everything has its benefits and downfalls, but seriously, I can’t help getting frustrated with the society we live in today. If those times were humane times, then I think these times can be described as mechanical, robotic, technology driven, crazy times.
The local news attests to this every evening. The headlines here in South Africa read something like this; “ Teenager kidnapped on her way to school and murdered”, “Young child killed for muti (traditional medicine)”, “Killers of farmer were reportedly abused continuously”, “Teenager forced to have abortion after affair with her school teacher”.... It can go on and on, and it’s the same story every single day, different people, but the exact same story. It’s so depressing and really, where is the humanity in this? The world seems to be filled with crazy people. Then there are the stinking rich who waste money on the most ridiculous of things while people suffer all over the world. Everything about these times seems to be upside down.
Besides all this though, life in general just seems to have gotten extra complicated over the past, like thirty years or something. Whereas in my parents time (and they’re not that old) very few people had cars, now the roads are so full that traffic makes people go crazy and the instances of road rage are on a steady increase, not to mention serious accidents. Then, when people didn’t have proper homes in those times, these days many people own huge homes with many additional rooms, yet there is disunity in families and in society. Whereas before things were less convenient, and everything couldn’t easily be purchased at a supermarket, now everything is at our fingertips (literally) but people are unhealthy, unhappy and alone. I could go on and on but I think you get my point by now!
So yeah, that’s why when I hear my parents speaking I have a longing, a longing for simple times, a longing for simple people, for simple interactions with others and for a generally simpler life. Alhamdullillah (Praise be to Allah) there are many benefits in our times, but it still somehow seems that those benefits come at a cost, like humanity as a race is regressing instead of progressing. I don’t know what you think, perhaps I am too old fashioned and boring, but listening to my parents speak about their youth always tends to make me feel like I missed out. Maybe one day it will be the same for my children, maybe they’ll look back and regard these times as good times, who knows what the future holds for the human race, in the end, Allah The Creator, is the Knower of all things, across al times!
All that I can do is try to make my life as simple as possible, after all, wasn’t simplicity a beautiful part of the Sunnah (way of life) of our Most Beloved Leader, Muhammad (PBUH).
Image from here