Knowing all you lovely people who read my blog, I don't think I need to go into a long-winded polemic about the devastating rap Islam is getting during these troubling times. And thank God (or Allah) for that, as I've just returned from the Lads' weekly swimming sesh and Little Lad's shower antics have me something close to bone-felt exhaustion.
But I would like to use my last drop of energy to let you know that today, Wednesday 16th May 2018, is the first day of Ramadan. That's right. That crazy month where Muslims don't let anything pass their lips from sunrise to sunset. And let's, for a moment, put aside our instant concerns of how on earth they won't all shrivel up and die, and remember that this has been done throughout history, for hundreds of years. And, to be fair, to very positive effect.
My husband and other Muslim friends tell me that, although challenging, the twenty-nine days of Ramadan help them to cleanse their bodies and minds and therefore open up a clearer (and less complex) pathway to Allah. And if I take Allah as I understand him / her / it then that's got to mean some seriously soul-lifting, heart-cleansing, breath-taking, pretty-damn awesome moments. Couldn't we all do with a few more of those?
I did have a brief dalliance with Ramadan myself (or Ramazan as they call it in Turkey, where the hubby is from) eight years ago when I inexplicably took pity on the hubster being so far away from his friends and family and volunteered to take on the challenge alongside him. Sometimes you've just gotta be there for your man. Even it does involve a distinct lack of garlic bread.
I wrote a whole daily blog about it at the time, so you can check that out if and when you want. But in summary: it was hard. Gone were my precious rituals that revolve around consumable items and suddenly I was faced with myself in a cold, harsh light. Most of the month was spent finding a way to soften that light. With patience, with tolerance, with love.
Anyhoo, these days I'm not feeling the itch to dive in and help the hubby in quite that way. But I will do what I can to teach our Lads about what Ramadan actually is, so that when they're old enough, they can decide for themselves whether to fast or not. That's why the hubster's suggestion about this last year, had me reaching for the coloured card, felt tips and stickers before you can say 'oops I've got a stationery obsession'.
And behold the Ramazan Kindness Calendar was born . . .
So, basically it's not just about nothing passing the lips food-wise. It's also about nothing ugly or cruel passing the lips too. That rules out insults, gossip and general bitching. And this is where the mindfulness bell starts ringing gleefully in my head, it's all an opportunity to practice. Practice kind words and practice kind actions.
Now that is something the Lads can get their heads around.
Last year we successfully completed the whole month with a kind act each day. Sometimes it was for someone we knew, sometimes it was for a stranger, and sometimes it was for ourselves. And no, I'm not going to even try to convince you that it was all plain sailing. My Lads are humans and therefore not always miraculously in the mode of generosity just because it's some random holy month their Dad keeps banging on about. Nope, on more than one occasion, I had to fight my way through their self-obsessed, playstation-addicted minds to find the tiny nuggets of altruism. And they were always there, if deeply buried.
And that's why this year I am convinced there is a daily blog here just begging to be written. I cannot promise you it will always be that interesting, or that I will even have the energy to link words up to actually mean something, but I'm going to give it a go. For me, for the Lads, for the hubby and, of course, for the world.
So how did Day One go? Well, it went something like this . . .
Anybody who has passed a vending machine on their way out to the car park after their child's swimming lesson will KNOW what a feat this is.
Rock on Yardimci Lads. Can't wait to see what you've got in store for us tomorrow.
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