Friday, January 4, 2013

My Pseudo-Ramadan, Days 1 and 2: Returning and Reporting

Day one (Wednesday, January 2) got off to a bit of a rocky start.  You see, it was the kids' first day back at school after the winter break, so the morning was a bit frantic busy with making sure my seven- and ten-year-olds were up, getting dressed, completing chores, eating breakfast, brushing teeth and getting out to the bus stop on time.  Honestly, the whole process actually went much more smoothly than I had feared it would after two weeks of sleeping in and getting chores done sometime before noon-ish, and the boys were dare-I-say pleasant and cooperative as they got ready for school.  So as I watched them climb on the big orange school bus from my kitchen window, I smiled, congratulating myself on getting through the morning rush and reached over to open the refrigerator to start on my breakfast.  And then I remembered.

The sun was up.  My fast started forty minutes ago.

So right off the bat, on the morning of the first day, I found myself mentally debating over just eating a small breakfast and then extending my fast in the afternoon a bit longer.  Or maybe I could just start the whole experiment tomorrow.  Or...there had to be some work-around, right?  But no.  The sun was up and I didn't want to begin the month by making excuses, so I sighed and closed the fridge.

I was actually surprised how much easier it was than I thought it would be, especially after missing breakfast.    I found that the stomach grumbles served as a reminder of what I was doing and why, and prompted brief prayers of supplication or gratitude in addition to the more formal prayers in the morning and evening.

As for scripture reading, at the beginning of the year, my boys asked if we could read the Gospels in the New Testament for our family scripture study, so we read the first couple of chapters in Matthew before they left for school.  It was a review so soon after our traditional Christmas Eve reading, but I was particularly moved this time by Matthew 2:16-18, when Herod commanded the slaying of all the children in Bethlehem.  (I read a Christmas book by Chieko Okazaki called Stars and some of her thoughts on this passage really stuck with me.  My goodreads review is here.)  The boys are asking more questions and wanting to discuss the ideas in the scriptures now and I enjoy helping them figure out and apply the lessons there for themselves.

As for the rest, I admit to being grouchy by the end of the day when certain boys Wouldn't. Stay. In. Bed.  That's a rough time of day for me; I need to work on making bedtime less difficult for everyone involved.

Day two I got up a little earlier and made sure to eat breakfast before getting the boys up.  It was a fuller day getting my youngest to and from preschool, buying a long list of groceries at two different stores and then putting them away at home in between, and an afternoon of volunteering at my sons' elementary school.  The day went faster, but by 4:10 (I'd never been so grateful for my northernly latitude and its subsequent early sunset), I had a raging headache and was almost a little queasy.  I broke my fast with a glass of milk and a couple of Tylenol.  I found myself so grateful that unlike so many others in this world, my hunger was voluntary and self-imposed with a definite, known endpoint.

That evening I had book club, well, one of my two book clubs.  (I love my book clubs - both of them.  I honestly look forward to them all month long and find them absolutely vital to my mental health.  I'm sure I'll write more about them later...)  It was a well-attended evening - about a dozen of us showed up - and the conversation was wide-ranging from the new film version of Les Miserables to the fiscal cliff.  We even talked about the book a bit!  (It was Sister by Rosamund Lupton, a compelling murder mystery, but also exploration of family relationships.  Read more here.)  I had the opportunity to do a good deed - one of the purposes of Ramadan and one of my goals for the month - and sew up some seams that had come apart on a friend's quilt while chatting.

Two days down, twenty-eight to go...

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