Monday, September 21, 2009

Ramadan

I have been calling agencies to help me with my visa process, and noticed on one of the websites that the Saudi embassy will be closed from today until next Monday for Ramadan. Rather than getting overly frustrated, I decided to do some research on the holiday. Seemed like a good use of my time.

From boston.com:

In Muslim nations and regions around the globe, this is the first week of the holy month of Ramadan, a time for followers to abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual activity during the day, breaking their fast each sunset, with traditional meals and sweets. During this time, Muslims are also encouraged to read the entire Quran, to give freely to those in need, and strengthen their ties to God through prayer. The goal of the fast is to teach humility, patience and sacrifice, and to ask forgiveness, practice self-restraint, and pray for guidance in the future.


The goal is to teach humility and patience and sacrifice. *sigh*
Ask forgiveness *groan*
Practice self-restraint *eep*
Pray for guidance in the future. That one seems not so difficult. "Help me, help me" is not an unfamiliar phrase.

Perhaps (I really wanted to use the word "mayhap" but it seems so pretentious.) Perhaps, this is the lesson in the closed embassy.

I've been able to do many of the additional tasks for my visa via the internet and phone calls. It's been a tough challenge. I am, after all, from the "instant" generation. One at a time, I was able to talk with people who can help me. The university is writing a special letter for me. The school in So. America is setting up a replacement certificate for me. The man at the visa agency near Washington DC talked me through step by step how to do this process.

And it reminded me that I'm not alone. I need to stop being so vain as to presume I must do it all. I need to let others have the blessing of offering the very help that I need, that is so readily available.
Is this humility? This letting go and letting others lead? This trusting their wisdom and knowledge? Following what they tell me to do? And if is, why must I become so frustrated, so overwhelmed before I ask for the help?

There is a reason I suppose that self restraint, patience, forgiveness are lumped together in this holiday. W
ithout each, the other is much harder to embody. Where is forgiveness without self restraint? Where is self restraint without patience? It is like the egg. The yolk, the white, the shell are all part of the egg, but what is the egg? They each are the egg - individually and together. So, too are self restraint, patience, and forgiveness a holy part of life.

This holiday, perhaps it is good to forgive oneself in order to move on and to practice the things that are noted as the focus of these days.

Whatever is the way to that place of peace, I want some.

Al-hamdu-lil-lah ‘All praise is due to Allah’.

*edited note: It was pointed out to me that I made a mistake about Ramadan. Now is the POST Ramadan celebration. No disrespect was intended. Well wishes to all, and thank you, my friend, for pointing this out.
pamila jo


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