It is almost to the end of the holy month of Ramadan and I think I have gotten the wrap of being a grumpy Ramadan fasting person. Someone permanently hangry if you will. I am not proud of this title but in an effort to be authentic I try to share the good, the bad, the ugly. Ramadan for me has always been a mixed bag, especially during the summer months when the days are long and our family continues it usual pace of go-go-go. I really feel like I am Zombie Zaiba all day. In fact I am sitting down to write this at the crack of dawn because my brain starts to fade a little towards the end of the day. However, in an attempt to fix my attitude I am going to focus on some of the lessons I have learned during this holy month and that I hope to carry with me for the rest of the year.
Family: Nothing brings a family together faster than saying “its almost Maghrib”. My house sounds like a herd of elephants stampeding through the jungle before I can even get that last word out. As we sit around the table, in our dazed hungered state, we share stories about the day, laugh at silly jokes my 2nd grader loves to tell, and talk about some of the issues going on in the world today. I realize in our crazy schedule of work, school, practices, homework, we don’t do enough family dinners. My hopes for when Ramadan ends, is that we can continue to take a break from our hectic lives and make a point to connect as a family.
Gratitude: Nothing gives you the most sense of gratitude then that first drink of ice cold water at sunset after you’ve been sitting outside in 90 degree weather at your son’s baseball game for three hours. After a long day of fasting I have the luxury of being able to break my fast with a delicious meal, a beautiful roof over my head, surrounded by the people I love most in this world. The fact that 2% of the world’s population are homeless and close to 20% lack adequate housing, isn’t lost to me and as I take that first sip of water I am forever grateful that I am able to break that fast when others don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
Charity: The definition of fasting really means to abstain or to do without. Nothing heightens your sense of giving than to feel physically what it is like to do without. During the month of Ramadan more people are apt to donate their Zakat or Sadaka since Ramadan is the month of fasting, prayer, and charity. However, why stop during this month? The act of charity should continue into the rest of the year. Whether you are donating your dollars or time, it never hurts to give to others.
Prayer: I have another admission to make. I am not the best prayer. I do them quickly or sometimes forget to do them at all. (I know this is terrible). However, Ramadan brings a new sense of spirituality and connection to something bigger than myself. When you feel the pangs of hunger and thirst it is a physical reminder of your devotion to something bigger than yourself. To take the time out of our crazy days to stop and take a break, means to take a breather and readjust our attitudes to the world around us. If I can continue to do this with regularity and focus, I feel like I can only benefit from this the rest of the year.
Patience: Part of my personal mission this year was to maintain my patience when my patience was at its thinnest. When your head is pounding from lack of caffeine and your children (or hubby) are grating on your nerves, it’s easy to yell out in frustration. My goal this Ramadan was to limit those outbursts as much as I could. To not let my hangry self lash out at the others around me. Like my daughter loves to tell me, “you are a grumpy fasting person.” I will instead focus on gratitude, charity, prayer, and patience into the rest of the year and if God allows me to see another Ramadan, my hope is to be a better person than I am today.
Until Next Time,