My first week of experiencing Ramadan is already documented, this is week two.
This week was the week that school started for fall semester at my local university. I'm a bit nervous being able to keep my energy high all day long after going from class to class at school, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out the last few weeks. Also, I've been very diligent on keeping up my pace to get through the Qur'an by 27 Ramadan. Some days are light reading, other days are heavier reading, but I'm still ahead of schedule, so that's good should I have a day or two that I forget or can't get to it.
By the end of this week, I'm half way through. I've now fasted more days consecutively in two weeks than I do in an entire year with my religion. My motivation is strong, and I'm sure I can finish. Also, my cold that I had the previous week is subsiding, so I have more strength and less pain going throughout the day.
Lastly, I've been shocked by the anti-Islam and anti-Muslim comments that I've received from people close to me or who I have a great deal of respect for, even if our political or philosophical views don't align very well. I've heard comments calling Islam a religion of hate and a religion of terror. I've heard comments that Muhammad was a false prophet, and will likely spend his afterlife in Hell. I've heard comments that being around Muslims makes them feel uncomfortable for their own safety, because they could be terrorist moles. I've heard that the Qur'an endorses murder and terrorism. I've heard that Islam is totalitarian, communist, and the perfect religion to build an army of Satan. I've heard all sorts of despicable things about these people, and it makes me sick.
Of course, many of these comments are directed to the fact that an Islamic community center will be built 2 blocks away form Ground Zero, in New York City, New York. So, I guess my timing to participate in Ramadan, and raise awareness for their religion, even though I'm Christian myself, couldn't have been better timed. However, the prejudiced and racist comments that I've endured, and the videos I've seen, have brought to my attention the naive, ignorant, and belligerent hate that people can have, of which I have never before seen. I grieve for the American people and their "holier than thou" ideals.
Anyway, here's how my week went physically.
- 8 Ramadan- The cold is progressing, but really, nothing to report here. I just have sinus congestion, headaches and a sore throat. Even though I shouldn't be fasting while I'm sick, this cold isn't bothering me enough to justify ending the fast. So, I'm sticking with it. At least until school starts back up again on 12 Ramadan.
- 9 Ramadan- I went to an amusement park with my family today. We got there around 11:30 in the morning, and stayed until 11:00 at night. Temperature was around one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. So, by around 2:00 pm, I was physically exhausted and completely dehydrated. My energy was gone, I was weak and started to get dizzy. I took my health more seriously than the fast, and broke the fast for a couple quarts of water. After rehydrating, I was able to keep my energy level up the remainder of the day until sunset, and eat. The toughest part, was around 6:00 pm, there was a dinner for families supporting adoption (our daughter is adopted). They had sandwhiches, chips, drinks, and cookies. Even though I had broken the fast and had water, I was only doing it for my health, and not for breaking the fast, so I still felt like I was fasting. So, I refrained from eating what looked like a great dinner. At sunset, I finally broke the fast for ending the day, and had a burger, fries and drink.
- 10 Ramadan- Went to another family reunion, and of course, there was a smorgos board of food- three picnic tables worth. Sloppy Joes, chips, Jello salad, pasta salad, brownies, cookies, juice, root beer, and on, and on, and on. And, of course, I can't eat any of it. I told my wife that this is three very tempting and solid meals that I resisted eating during the month of Ramadan. I could have eaten very well the past couple of weeks, but I resisted.
- 11 Ramadan- Today felt like a standard "Fast Sunday" that we have once per month in our religion, so it didn't really feel any different. Wasn't a hard day, wasn't really an easy day either. However, I am 1/2 way through reading the Qur'an. I'm trying to keep the pace to finish by 27 Ramadan. I think I'm on target.
- 12 Ramadan- First day of school at my local university, and I forgot to wear my topi. I really want to raise awareness for Islam, so I'm a bit upset that I didn't put it on before leaving out the door. Also, I was a bit nervous at first that I would run out of energy quickly going from class to class, and I wouldn't have the energy to carry me throughout the day, but I did just fine. I went to a local cafe for dinner.
- 13 Ramadan- I only had an apple, banana and a glass of milk for the meal at sunrise. Needless to say, I was starving very early in the day, and I didn't have much energy to carry me throughout the day. I quickly learned that was not a wise choice. My wife made parmigiana chicken for dinner with onions and carrots. It was very good..
- 14 Ramadan- This time, I corrected my opening meal with some Grape Nuts (grains, oats, cracked wheat, high in fiber, etc) and yogurt, along with milk and orange juice. I had a much better time getting through the day. I had plenty of energy and didn't really get hungry until about 8 hours later. Also, I went to the grocery store, and bought some wheat bread, peanut butter (crunchy, of course), strawberry jam and vitamin water for my late dinners at work before heading home. That worked well. Lastly, my cold is subsiding. Finally.