Epistolary Fiction

My Dear Children, We’ve Left A World For You To Save

And I am…debilitated, defeated, and desperately sorry.
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With this recent report from the International Panel on Climate Change, it’s telling us we have 12 years before dropping below the 1.5 degrees Celsius mark, a point at which we’ll be “dicing with the planet’s liveability.”

A few weeks ago, I walked out of Michael Moore’s latest film, Fahrenheit 11/9 with an overwhelming sense of dread and despair because of the things that have happened in my country to those who were meant to be protectedhonored, and taken care of…and my complete non-involvement in stopping any of it.

It is with deep dismay that I write about these specific events in a letter to you, my dear future children (whom I hope Allah blesses me with).

I want to explain, with the weakest of reasonings and justification, how I contributed to this world you’ve been born into — this world we’re leaving behind for you to save.

Here’s how: I lived my life.

I woke up and thought about my problems, my goals, my hunger, my thirst, my income, my family, my legacy, my afterlife, my relationship with Allah, my clothes, my social media presence, my blog you’re reading this on, my degree I’m thinking about getting, my upcoming wedding to your mother, my likes, my clients, my students, my dinner, my apartment, my videos, my public image…

And in that process, I let the world burn.

I let it burn while trying to keep my world from burning.

I’m sorry.

I love you so much, and while I know I’m telling myself I’m doing everything I can for you, I know the truth is that it’s not enough. It never will be. I want to shelter you from the world that’s burning down around us, but you’re old enough now to smell smoke and know what it is. I want to pretend like I’ve prepared you with the oceans and waterfalls you need to extinguish this blaze, but I haven’t.

Abee (or Dad or Padre or whatever weird phrase your mother lets you call me now)…can’t come to your rescue anymore. The truth is, he never could. All I could ever do was hold you as close I could to my chest and hope the world around us would get better enough to deserve you.

It hasn’t.

The next one awaits for us, and I’ll have to answer for what I’ve done on this one (as will you one Day).

But, I’m not telling you this to depress you (although I know it’s been pretty depressing up to this point). I’m telling you this, my dear children, not because it’s suddenly time for you to take over and save the world I’m leaving behind for you…

I’m telling you this, because I want you know that you are already saving the world. You have been since the day you were a simple prayer in my heart as I write out this blog post…

I’m not enough, but I am something. And I’ve never had doubt in the fact that no matter how bad this world gets, we never, ever stop trying to save it.

Because it’s not ours…it’s yours.

Throughout your lives, my dear children, you have been my world…you are the reason I kept trying to leave behind a world worthy of you (even though I knew I never could).

As I watch the world burn outside, I look down to you and find coolness in my eyes.

So please understand — I am sorry I’ve left you to an imperfect world. I am sorry I’ve put forth an imperfect effort trying to save it. And I am sorry that it’s on you to do the exact. same. thing.

We’re created to be replaced. But of all the terrible things I’m leaving behind in this world, I want you to know that you, my dear children, you will always be the best thing I ever left for it.

And knowing you…I know that’s enough.

Jawaad Khan was born and raised in sunny South Florida to a family of creatives and Islamic workers. He went on to complete a film degree at the University of Miami, one year of improv classes (which he’s very proud of), and he studied Arabic and Islamic studies at various institutes in Dallas, TX, where he now resides with his wife and cat. He serves on the board and is an editor for Muslim Youth Musings. His debut collection of short stories, titled "No Old Ladies in Jannah" was published in 2023.

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