Feast and Fast

Ramadan Mubarak to all my Muslim friends, neighbours and blog readers!

Having taught in Peterborough for several years with a class of children who were all Muslim, I know it can be a real challenge at this time of year so prayers for a blessed and fruitful fast, that you discover what Rumi called the ‘hidden sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness’.

Much as I admire people who take fasting very seriously, I struggle with it.  Partly because of my diabetes and I’ve written and talked about that before (e.g. https://youtu.be/i7XSirBJFYo)

But I’m also something of a binger if I’m honest and not just when it comes to food.  I think I have one of those personalities, like Toad in the Wind in the Willows.  I get obsessed with something and then suddenly find I’m bored and want to move on to something else.  I have tried to train myself out of it but I think it’s still my default position!

People I know who struggle with mental health issues have told me how the drugs they are given often take away their ability to feel at the extremes.  They neither experience the depth of sorrows not the heights of joy.  Instead life becomes somewhat grey.  The trouble is we seem to crave for intense emotional experiences as human beings. And if we want to be able to experience intense joy we also open ourselves up to intense pain.

As I come to the end of the first three days of my journey, I am already aware it has been something of an emotional rollercoaster.  And now my quiet solitude has been replaced by the joy and delight of having lots of my family join me.

The fast and the feast.  But sometimes I think the feast can make us feel more intensely the pain of the fast.  Seeing everyone gathered together I find can be something of a bittersweet experience as I can’t help noticing who is missing…

The Reading Room Café in Walton

More words from that Celtic prayer:

 

You are the door that’s open wide

You are the guest who waits inside