“A Day In the Life of Atlanta”

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Inscribe Tuesday, January 28, 2014 and throw in Wednesday, the 29th as well, into the annals of Atlanta Snow Debacles. Mother Nature reminded us once again that we are caretakers and not masters, servants and not owners, collaborators and not lords, when it comes to Nature and Life. Isn’t it amazing how two inches of icy snow can so quickly refresh our memories?

The various treks home on Tuesday for me and my family members were relatively uneventful compared to the harrowing experiences of so many others, still let me share a few personal lessons gleamed from the episode. When I went into the Mosque for the noon prayer on Tuesday, everything was dry, when we came out at 1:15 pm, the parking lot and the cars were covered with an inch of icy snow. I briefly got on I-20W and immediately realized that it was rapidly becoming crowded and slippery, so I got off and committed to the side streets of the intown neighborhoods to trek from East Atlanta to the Westside. Several times I crossed over and under the expressway, and could see the gridlock on I-20 and the Downtown Connector by 2:15pm. The main city and state thoroughfares were beginning to stack up, yet the neighbor streets were unobstructed and quite open. By 2:30pm, I had meandered home safely.

I informed my daughter to avoid the Interstates and the major thoroughfares, but since she’s addicted to the GPS, she could only stay off the expressway. Still, she managed to cross from Central DeKalb to South DeKalb in one hour. The major test would be my wife, who works in Lenox Square and gets off at 3:30pm. It was a difficult task, but I persuaded her to leave her car in the parking deck and take the Marta Rail. Forty-five minutes later, I was picking her up at the Westlake Marta Station four blocks from our house. One of her co-workers who decided to drive to her Six Flags neighborhood didn’t get there until 7:30am, 17 hours later!!

So here are the lessons: 1) Take advice from frost more often, Robert Frost that is, ‘and take the road less traveled’, it made all the difference for me; 2) Look up from your GPS, get off the interstates occasionally, and get to know Atlanta and its wonderful neighborhoods, including its hills; 3) Recognize that ‘Marta Is Indeed Smarta’, especially the trains; 4) and from my wife’s co-worker, who described how she made it in traffic for 17 hours alone – she depended on family and friends on the phone and social media the first 8 hours, then she talked solely to God the next 8 hours, and somewhere in there she started listening to God and after that, it was alright and all right. Sometimes it just takes a lot to tune out the noise, so we can hear what really matters!

Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) said:

“Be mindful of God and you will find Him before you. Get to know God in prosperity and He will know you in adversity. Know that what has passed you by was not going to befall you, and what has befallen you was not going to pass you by. Understand that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and ease with hardship.”

Submitted by Imam Plemon T. El-Amin