i was all geared up to write my post for day 30 last night, regardless of the fact that the moon was sighted & it was eid. but unfortunately i just felt too yukky from my cold to even think about turning on the computer. so instead, here is an eid post and first of all i'd like to wish all my friends & readers eid mubarak. i hope the day has gone well for you, that the month went well for you (well, maybe not so much for our friends in christchurch), and that the future holds even better things for you.
the day started off early for me. got up at 6am to do the food preparations that i didn't have energy for the night before. then shower & get dressed in my brand new clothes. it's a tradition that we wear new and nice clothes for eid, to add to the atmosphere of celebration. the girls also had henna on their hands done the night before & had all their jewellery sorted out. then we went to the hamilton gardens for the eid prayer. it's a short prayer with a sermon, but we start our celebration remembering the month gone by & the spiritual journey we have just been through.
then the fun part begins. we visit our friends and share food, and then later in the day they visit us and share our food. because the community is varied, we get to sample a variety of yummy snacks. the trick is to pace yourself and only try one or two things from each place, otherwise you get full really quick.
because eid fell on a friday, we had the weekly congregational prayer at the mosque as well. today's sermon focused on the earthquake in christchurch as well as other recent disasters around the world. but the best part of my day would have to be just after the prayer. we had two guests from a hamilton church, whose names were matthew & john. they came to offer a hand of friendship as christians, and to share with us their concern about the proposed qur'an burning in the US (now apparently called off). they told us how much they disagreed with this act, how they felt strongly that it was against the teachings of Christ, and that they hoped our community would not judge theirs on the basis of something like this.
it was so very touching, and they were extremely warmly received. really, when there is so much shit happening in the world just now, it is so sweet & heartwarming when people offer a hand of friendship. it was something they didn't need to do, but it really meant a lot to me personally. i didn't get to meet matthew & john, but i hope that our community leaders were effusive in their personal responses to these two.
it recalls to mind a visit to the mosque by women from the society of friends (quakers), who came to give us flowers as a show of support, just a week or so before the invasion of iraq early this decade. at that time, we (as a community) had been facing a similarly difficult environment, and it was one of the most uplifting experiences of my life.
i really wish that these small episodes would make the front pages of our newspapers, and headline the television bulletins. these gestures that promote a sense of community are huge in the impact they have, and if we had more publicity for acts of peace, what a different world we might live in. i truly believe that highlighting events such as these in our news bulletins would sell as much advertising as the negative stuff does, but i guess we won't get to test that theory any time soon.
it's been a lovely day. i've had to sleep in the afternoon, and came home reasonably early tonight becuse i'm still not quite well. but looking forward to another day of visiting & feasting tomorrow. and i'll finish off by briefly covering the topic i had planned for day 30.
today i would like to express my gratitude for the gift of life. to be here, to exist, breathe, feel, think, struggle, it is a gift and a supreme blessing. i know i don't appreciate this gift anywhere near as much as i should. i know that i often waste the gift, as the days rush past with little achieved. i know i don't make the most of every precious moment. that's just part of being human, and i can safely say that every human being is guilty of these things.
but i think it is important every now and then to stop and appreciate our being. to appreciate ourselves and what we have to offer to the world. and every single person has something (many things in fact) of value to offer. even if we aren't always able to do so, the potential is there within us when we are ready and able. some of us make huge and public contributions, many others make humble and quiet ones. who's to say which is more important?
this, then, is the essence of ramadan - a month when we try to take time to appreciate life and everything that goes with it. i'm really happy that i've managed to complete the project i set out at the beginning of the month. it's been an incredibly rewarding one for me. i hope that you have also got something from it. i'd like to thank people for the positive feedback they've given me - those who have commented here & those who have told me in person. i'll be taking a break from blogging for a few days - i definitely need to replenish the supply of words in my head!
i'll finish where i started: eid mubarak everyone. peace be with you.