the hymn It Is Well With My Soul always wrecks me because it’s about encountering so much pain and suffering and loss but at the same time clinging tightly onto the Lord and saying but whatever happens, Lord, whatever trial or pain, it is well with my soul–because of who You are
it is well, not because of the circumstances that we find ourselves in but simply because of Jesus. because of the cross. because of the gospel. this is our joy and our delight. that is why in our darkest moments we can still rejoice and shout for joy–simply because of Jesus Christ.
One of the main lessons that we should take from the story of the Mi'raj.
The Prophet ﷺ had called people to Allah for over 10 years in Makkah. He was once the one that they called the truthful and the trustworthy, but suddenly all those who were once close to him turned their backs on him and betrayed him. He was stoned and pelted. He was called names and mocked. His family were starved. His companions were tortured and killed. All those who he once trusted now plotted against him and it was the hardest ten years of his blessed life. He saw hardship and he saw pain, but non of it compared to the pain he experienced just before this journey. He lost his uncle Abu Talib who looked after him as a child, the one who protected him when people attacked him. The one who took care of him when his father and grandfather passed away. His death caused the Prophet ﷺ indescribable pain. Then He lost his wife, Sayyidah Khadijah. She was the one he loved, she gave him ease, she honoured him and she remained with him when everyone left. When she passed away, it broke his blessed heart.
When all of these trials and tribulations came his way, he remained steadfast and content with the destiny of Allah. He never gave up and he never despaired. He carried on calling to Allah. It was in this time that Allah took him upon the night journey and He saw His Lord. In those moments, He gazed upon Allah. He was rewarded for His patience, and he was honoured with the ultimate prize. Dear Ummah, you may be going through turmoil, pain and real confusion, but Allah has promised us that ease shall come after hardship. An ease which shall make us forget all that which we faced. Remain patient and keep steadfast with prayer, supplication and gratitude. A day shall come when Allah will reward you beyond measure. He only tested you as a sign that He loves you.
the historicity of queerness in black sails, pt. 1
Hello, Tumblr! Let’s talk about pirates, queer stuff, and historical accuracy.
There’s been renewed talk in certain spaces this week about queer narratives in historical drama. This has been spurred almost entirely by the series finale of Black Sails, which made the (distressingly) controversial decision to end its four-year run by giving its queer protagonists a largely happy ending.
If any show currently airing was going to take such a leap, it was always going to be Black Sails, which from the outset possessed a keen interest in exploring queer narratives. This was seen–correctly–as being something almost unheard of among historical dramas: a genre whose queer characters, if any, are relegated to the status of minor character or tragic subplot. But why is this, and why did Black Sails provoke some ire for heading in the opposite direction? There is an easy answer; an assumption lurking in the undertow of many an irate Facebook or Reddit comment: queer people in the 18th century didn’t get happy endings, did they?
This is part of a bigger question: There were no gay people then, right? In other words, characters can’t be openly gay in the show, because they killed men for that, didn’t they, and isn’t this supposed to be a ‘historical’ drama? So: how accurate is the queerness inBlack Sails? Let’s take a look at some history.
Trigger warning for discussions of period-typical homophobia and a brief mention of rape.
One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”
He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”
Both are orphans. Both lost their fathers before their birth, during Robert’s Rebellion, and both mothers died bringing them into the world.
They were smuggled away from their place of birth - Daenerys went in exile to Essos, Jon was carried to Winterfell. They both suffered abuse: Jon by Catelyn, and Daenerys by Viserys (Daenerys case is much worse of course). Dany was in the shadow of Viserys; Jon was in the shadow of Robb.
As Daenerys is sold to Drogo and starts her life with the strange culture of the Dothraki, Jon joins the Night’s Watch and struggles to adapt to the law standards of the life at the Wall. Later Jon has to join the Wildlings, the “savages of Westeros”, just as the Dothraki are the “savages of Essos”.
misslalwen also pointed that both Jon’s and Daenerys’ journeys in ASOIAF start with a feast: Jon’s very first chapter is the feast at Winterfell, when he takes the crucial life-changing decision of joining the Night’s Watch. Daenerys’s very first chapter is the preparation for her wedding feast with Khal Drogo; her second chapter is the feast itself. It happens at the same time as Jon’s story.
Their first love relation: Daenerys was sold and raped by Khal Drogo; just as Jon was forced into his relation with Ygritte - he had to sleep with her under threat on his life. Mance made it clear that if Jon doesn’t sleep with Ygritte, he would kill him (as it would mean that Jon remains true to his Night’s Watch vows and therefore is a Crow).
Yet every night, some time before the dawn, Drogo would come to her tent and wake her in the dark, to ride her as relentlessly as he rode his stallion. He always took her from behind, Dothraki fashion, for which Dany was grateful; that way her lord husband could not see the tears that wet her face, and she could use her pillow to muffle her cries of pain. When he was done, he would close his eyes and begin to snore softly and Dany would lie beside him, her body bruised and sore, hurting too much for sleep.
“I never asked you to lie for me.”
“I never did,” she said. “I left out part, is all.”
“You said - ”
“ - that we fuck beneath your cloak many a night. I never said when we started, though.” The smile she gave him was almost shy. “Find another place for Ghost to sleep tonight, Jon Snow. It’s like Mance said. Deeds is truer than words.”
Both Jon and Daenerys develop affection to their companions.
When Drogo and Ygritte die, it’s in the hands of Daenerys and Jon.
Both Jon and Daenerys feel guilty about their lost first loves, and mourn them.
Both Daenerys and Jon rose to power quickly, and at a very young age. Daenerys is Queen of Meereen at 15, Jon is made Lord Commander at 16. Note that it happens at the same time: Daenerys takes up residence in Meereen and becomes Queen, while Jon becomes Lord Commander, both at the end of Storm of Swords.
They are the two best examples of young leaders in the novels. How they rule, the difficulties they are facing, the trials they undergo. Their stories illustrate the battle against their inexperiences and will to move forward “kill the boy and let the man be born” “if I look back, I’m lost”.
Daenerys was offered the chance to return to Westeros, but she decied to stay in Meereen to rule and help her people. Jon was offered to be made a Stark of Winterfell, but he refused because he knows he has a duty to the Night’s Watch, and because he feels that as a bastard, he doesn’t have morally the right to be Lord of Winterfell.
Both want the best for all the sides, and both struggle to be accepted by those they rule. They both turn their attention to the outcasts of the society,to those other people refused: Jon cares for the Wildling, and is the first Lord Commander in history to make peace with them and allow them to cross the Wall; while Daenerys releases thousands of enslaved people and does everything she can to keep them alive.
Both faced assassination attempts, by those who disagreed with their ways of ruling. While Daenerys escaped her poisoned locusts by luck, Jon is stabbed by his Brothers. And again, these events happens at the same time, at the end of A Dance with Dragons.
Both are connected to magical legendary beasts: a direwolf for Jon, and 3 dragons for Daenerys.
Both think of their family they never knew: Jon quite a lot of his mother, and Daenerys of Rhaegar and Aerys, and her ancestors.
Daenerys feels the need to carry her Targaryen lineage and fulfill the duty to her House, Jon also want to impress his adoptive father Eddard.
He was no true Stark, had never been one … but he could die like one. Let them say that Eddard Stark had fathered four sons, not three.
“Remember who you are, Daenerys,” the stars whispered in a woman’s voice. “The dragons know. Do you?”
Daenerys tries to think of Rhaegar as her idol, while Jon’s idol was Daeron Targaryen the Young Dragon.
That night she dreamt that she was Rhaegar, riding to the Trident. But she was mounted on a dragon, not a horse.
When Jon had been a boy at Winterfell, his hero had been the Young Dragon, the boy king who had conquered Dorne at the age of fourteen. Despite his bastard birth, or perhaps because of it, Jon Snow had dreamed of leading men to glory just as King Daeron had, of growing up to be a conqueror
Both are gentle and kind people. And both are very melancholic
Finally, Daenerys’ prophecy from the House of the Undying:
A blue flower grew from a chink in a wall of ice, and filled the air with sweetness. … mother of dragons, bride of fire …
The obvious reference to Jon (blue flower in a Wall of ice) is part of the prophecy concerning Daenerys’ love interests, symbolised by the word “bride”.
And there are subtle foreshadowings when Jon and Daenerys think of the magical beast of the other (unbeknown to them of course)
He might as well wish for another thousand men, and maybe a dragon or three. - Jon, A Storm of Swords
Off in the distance, a wolf howled. The sound made her feel sad and lonely, but no less hungry. - Daenerys, A Dance with Dragons
And I am sure there are more parallels, perhaps less obvious. Parallel lines are meant to never meet, but in the case of Jon and Daenerys, I feel these lines are sliding straight toward each other.
Sixth Doctor: “Just a minute! Did you call him the Doctor?” The Master: “There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you. The Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation. And I may say, you do not improve with age.”
In times of crisis we want to take action and fix the situation. It is against our nature to stand still and wait; in fact, waiting patiently for God to act is probably the most difficult thing about the Christian walk. Even devoted believers sometimes panic when the Lord doesn’t act quickly, and they often desperately cry out, “Lord, do something!”
God is searching for a people who will trust Him in every crisis, trial and hopeless situation. Indeed, as hard as it is to fathom, God often leads us into situations that are alarming and difficult in order to test us. He wants to see if we are willing to stand still and wait for Him to bring supernatural deliverance. He is producing good fruit in us and molding us into examples of faith to be His testimony to a faithless, ungodly age.
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way” (Psalm 37:23). Ordered means “prearranged, fixed, ordained by God.” This means that it is God, not the devil, who leads us into difficult places. Not only does He allow our trial, but He does so deliberately — and that is hard for us to accept!
I don’t believe God would ever lead us to the brink of a difficult situation and then abandon us. He is absolutely faithful to His children in every crisis. His intervention may not be according to our schedule but He always acts and it is our duty and privilege to stand still and trust Him to see us through to victory.