Raza: The Will Of God
In urdu, Raza means the will of God.
A neighbor of almost two decades, here in California, called Mary, reminds me of my mother. At first we would meet in the shared park where she and her retired husband would walk in the evenings, as I would watch my little son play with his friends. From neighborly greetings we proceeded to learning that the retired couple were originally from Iran, and had moved to the US after the revolution. Over the years, the handsome man developed and battled with Alzheimer's, while his wife diligently cared for him, until he passed away. Now, she walks with a walker and only comes to the garden rarely. Sometimes, she will knock on my door for simple assistance, such as when she could not put her key in her house door, or her central heating was making strange noises, or once when her ipad was not opening Skype, which connects her to her daughter in Sweden.
Recently, I saw Mary sitting on the park bench outside, with two people, her daughter and son, whom I met for the first time. Her daughter lamented that she did not get enough time with her mother. I commiserated that I too live far from my mother, who is in India. Time with our mothers is limited to bursts during our visits rather than the steady reassurance of proximity. Mary’s son, Raza, lives locally and can offer her that. He remembered that we had spoken on the phone once, a while ago, and he expressed thanks that I was there for his mother.
In India, my mother has kind neighbors who help her when she fumbles with her lock and key or has home-maintenance issues she needs assistance with. During a visit last year, I met a friendly lady who stopped by on her way to the market to ask my mother if she needed anything from the market. During my recent visit, a young man stopped by, with his 6 year old son, to give my mother a packet of biscuits, because it was his birthday. My mother was excited to introduce me to him, and I learned that it was his mother whom I had met on the prior visit. I was glad to meet him as in-between my visits, my mother's kitchen needed some maintenance, for which my local cousins and I had sent in hired help. However, my mother had refused to let hired helpers tackle the job, and had instead chosen to rely on the kind help of this young man, and his friends, to tackle the job independent of my or my cousin's assistance.
I now had a chance to thank him and apologize for the undue extra-work that took up his Sunday morning, when hired help ought to have done it. He assured me that he felt good when he could help, and excused himself from my complaints about how my mother doesn't trust hired help, so he could rush off to his next appointment. My mother could not recall his name, so I asked him as he left. He said his name was Raza.
In refusing to hear my lament that my mom won't allow hired help into her home, Raza offered me the chance to let go of that story, and his name reminded me that it is indeed God’s will that things are as they are. This Raza is my mother’s neighbor and helps her and I have been given another Raza’s mother near me, whom I can be there for, as if she was my own mother. What I can’t do for my mother on a daily basis, I can do for Mary, exactly as Raza and his family and other neighbors are there for my mother.