• That grief and happiness can coexist, back to back, next to each other. One can take over for moments, days or months but eventually they can coexist. There is no betrayal to either.
  • That each of us has a blind spot. Something we do not see in ourselves, but others can. Ask permission to direct someone to her/his blind spot. Unsolicited advice is criticism. You may be told “when I need your opinion, I will ask for it”. Make sure you are respectful. I owe the latter to Ashraf Kamal, a dear friend.
  • That there is reality and a perception of reality. We should manage both. What we feel we are, or think we are is not necessarily the impression we give others about ourselves. Manage both, seek to explain your position and show people where you are coming from. Thank you Hossam Fahr, my dear friend. No one else could have said it better.
  • That I am not a benchmark against which others are or ought to be measured. We each have our strengths and weaknesses. Learn where others are coming from (mom says). Put yourself in their shoes. You will see the world differently. 
  • That if I find myself in disagreement with someone,  to try not to burn the bridge I may need to cross again. Hani Al-Fkeiki wrote about his experience with a political party in the Arab world saying: “we are often told that as a nation, Arabs do not know how to agree. More importantly he said, they do not know how to disagree. Respect differences, rethink positions and if you are sure you are right stick to them. Avoid verbal abuse. A word is like a bullet, once it is out it cannot be changed or retrieved.. 
  • That “friendships are like buildings. Violations happen. When they do, we should remove the violation but should not knock the whole building down.” Nehad Salem, a dear friend.  
  • That I must  know exactly what I am about to commit to and take responsibility for. Failure to understand the nature of the partnership I am about to enter into is no one else’s fault but mine.
  • That I should respect boundaries, and that boundaries are not a matter of protocol and titles. Boundaries are set by understanding what I, and others for that purpose,  can and cannot do.
  • That a good friend lends you his/her eyes to see what you, yourself cannot see alone. Hold on  tight to your friends. You do not know when your paths could  part. When they do you will cherish the memories. Thank you Jihad Darwaza for being part of my life. 
  • That what Saul Bellow said is very true: “ Everyone needs memories. They help keep the wolf of insignificance off the door”. 
  • That “some dreams are best left unfulfilled”. Revisit your dreams often. Find out which, if any, are still dreams, and which have lost their lure. From a story in the New York Times. One day. Years ago.
  • That we often think of the impact of the decisions  we made rather than those we did not. From Rabih Alameddine: An Unnecessary Woman
  • That sacrificing , doing good  or undertaking a responsibility is a personal choice. Once I commit, outcomes do not matter. No one owes me a thank you; no one is in my debt. In the final analysis, “a good deed is its own reward”. “عاقبة الإحسان حسناه“. 

This, in a nutshell captures my involvement in #VIP.fund.

Photo Credit: Rasha Ajalyaqeen

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