This morning I was already awake from the meowing of our elderly cat, when my husband’s alarm burst into the calmness at 4:30, and surprisingly I did not feel my usual irritation of not getting enough sleep and knowing it will have to do for the next 18 hours. I actually felt my heart lighten in gratitude for being given another day. Definitely NOT a normal experience for this non-early riser.
Getting up at 5 with sunrise not till 6:09, gave me LOTS of time to think about what to eat. (Folks, I haven’t put the traditional prayer times in yet. There’s five of those to pocket throughout the day, but just managing the food and water part is all I can pull off right now!)
Al Jazeera, a very helpful and competent news source online, explains that it’s important to consume about 2 liters of water during the nighttime hours during Ramadan, especially if it’s especially warm weather like yesterday. 2 LITERS! Good grief. I wasn’t even interested in breakfast that early, but I felt a bit of panic rise as my mind immediately went to scarcity mode. I better gorge myself NOW, I thought, because otherwise there will be suffering later if I don’t.
Whoa. Isn’t that what we heard from the Israelites in the wilderness when the manna was offered to them by God? Stuff it into our knapsacks NOW so that we have extra during those times when inevitably God will forget us. Surely we aren’t going to get enough to fill our bellies every day.
But manna wasn’t a crop that needed to be harvested and managed responsibly (except on the day before their scheduled day of rest). And neither should we expend great effort in managing the gift of suhur (the early morning meal) nor iftar (the meal after the daytime fast). These are meals that are meant to help us experience the peace of the sustaining presence of God even though there may be discomfort in greater or lesser degrees when our bodies respond to the restraint we give to food in the between-time.
This helps me to breathe with a smile and find my morning centering prayer (an embellished version of a Muslim daily prayer) rather than trying to drink yet another glass of water…
O God, you are peace.
From you comes peace, to you returns peace.
Revive us with a salutation of peace,
and lead us to your abode of peace.
Help me to practice peace in non-violent speech.
…practice peace with acts of reconciliation.
…practice peace by calming the mind and body.
…through inviting stillness and active listening.
…by creating beauty.
…by detaching from fear.
…with an awareness of Your abiding presence.
That Your justice for every one of Your children might be found at last.
Practice peace with me, Holy One. Amen.