It was a wonderful wedding; a scenic venue, a gorgeous cake and a beautiful bride, masha’allah. As the cake was the (edible) centre piece that day I decided to make it the (thought provoking) centre piece today. If your life was a cake, which one would it be? A fruit cake, chocolate or ginger? Would you like it be dusted with sugar, covered in cream or use icing to sculpt it into a funky design? Whatever you choose and regardless of how much or little it costs you, I am sure you’d want it to have your signature and reflect your personality.
However pretty you think this cake is it’ll have to be cut and given to the guests. And that’s the hard bit; not the giving away (I’m sure of your generosity) but deciding on the slice size. You see, you have eight guests and each one of them is eager to have a slice. They’ve been eyeing that cake in its glory since they’ve come in. You know them all though not to the same extent. Roll drums… We have Miss Social, Ms Finance, Miss Health, Mrs Family, Mrs Spiritual, Mrs Marital, Ms Work and Miss Emotions. What a lovely collection of ladies in one room!
If I were in your shoes I’d logically decide to give each guest an equal sized slice. I wouldn’t want to be accused of favouritism now, would I? The reality isn’t that easy though. I can tell you for a fact that when I was a student almost half the cake would’ve gone to Ms Work. She represented my ‘work’ as a full time student with a part time job. That WAS my life. Naturally, I may have to “encourage” Ms Finance to sick to her diet so I don’t give her too big a slice. Not even a medium one. Student life was one of counting the pennies.
I would’ve given the second biggest slice to Miss Social. I loved university. They worked us hard but it was the place where I met most of my closest friends, Alhamdulillah. I felt the warmth of sisterhood and saw the value of sincere advice and support.
Mrs Family always had a curious quality about her. She gives this feeling that it’s her right to get the biggest slice if not the whole cake. And when you comply you’re not quite sure if you did so lovingly or out of a sense of obligation. On the other hand, I know some parties where Mrs Family was not even allowed into the venue.
Let’s fast forward to now. I am afraid that I haven’t given Mrs Marital a slice yet. I wonder, is it that I don’t like her or maybe she’s allergic to eggs, flour, milk and maybe also cake?! Miss Emotions is a hard one to ‘read’. Even though as women we are told time and time again how emotional we are, this is still one of the hardest guests to deal with; she can be unpredictable and fragile and either walks around with a box of tissues or wears a variety of masks to hide a vulnerable inner being.
That leaves us with Miss Health and Mrs Spiritual. Interestingly both are a change from the inside that with time reflects on the outside. Miss Health isn’t about being stick thin, if she was she definitely wouldn’t be in this party! She’s about the conviction that food is a fuel not an escape. That physical activity is part of life not a burden and that knowing oneself physically at times of wellbeing gives a good clue for when things are not as they should and thus seeking expert advice.
Mrs Spiritual is the quiet one. It’s so easy to understate her value and overlook her great contribution. In this fast paced wheel of a life she is often forgotten and she ends up with the crumbs.
Depending on where you are in life, you may decide that the best thing to do is to give the biggest slice to Mrs Spiritual because she represents your humanity and connection to your creator. On the other hand you maybe at a point where you would willingly prefer Mrs Martial. Now, short-term favouritism can be excused but only to restore the balance. Humans are complicated beings and even the analogy of the eight guests is not all encompassing; it’s just a way of simplifying things to give us a starting point. Do you know the feeling when you have a trillion of things to do and yet you are sitting there doing nothing! It’s because you don’t know where to start.
I invite you to have a nice chat with each of your guests, get to know them better. You’ll have to have a heart to heart with some of them, we just hope it doesn’t turn ugly. With time, commitment and support you’ll in-sha’allah be able to slice that cake a bit more fairly.