After 3 weeks of doing my best to observe the Ramadan fast, I've come to a saddening reality: I have more fast days to make up than actual days completed during the fast. While the rules allow for those missed days to be made up before the next season of Ramadan, there is a sense of failure on my part.
I took these thoughts to my spiritual director, who was eager to hear how this time was being spent and how the fast affected me bodily, spiritually, and in my prayer life. There is a sense of safety in talking with formators and spiritual directors once a week, as they keep me from getting too "off-balance." He offered a great idea: if I felt that the time of fasting and self-reflection was being nurturing and healthy to my spiritual growth, why not use those "missed" days of fasting as "opportunities" later in the year to help me with my prayer life? Be it during Advent, Lent, or maybe just a random time that I feel the need to fast again, these days are a chance to not limit my experience to one particular month.
People here have noticed a difference in my demeanor, but I know I have found a growing sense of prayer awareness, consideration for others, and balance in thoughts and feelings through the observance of Ramadan. In spite of what others my have thought my faith has actually grown.
I wonder if I could have used any holiday or occasion for this desire to deepen my spiritual life. The fact that I'm a Catholic observing an Islamic holiday seems less controversial when, in reality, I'm a Catholic looking to find a deeper connection with God. Whether that occurs during Lent, the Easter Season, or outside the realm of the Liturgical Calender.
Less than a week to go. My thoughts are with those who have been able to keep up their fast this entire month, those who do not have the ready access to food and water that I have here in Allison Park, and those who have given up on finding God.