We have commanded you to pray and fast from the beginning of maturity; this is ordained by God, your Lord and the Lord of your forefathers. He hath exempted from this those who are weak from illness or age, as a bounty from His Presence, and He is the Forgiving, the Generous.
Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas
It’s that time of the month again! This time, I’ve discovered 7.6 lbs gone this month, bringing my total gone to 10.2 lbs.
Thank God. Literally.
And something I just said two days ago: “And my second day into this particular commitment is way too early to go and break it.”
It wasn’t about the Fast, but it could have been.
Monday, I had a horrible day. My energy crashed about 3 pm, and I couldn’t get it back. I napped. I broke the Fast for coffee (very much trying to stay away from food for it), and I finally ended up eating, but nothing helped.
The next morning, I’m bright and shiny and happy, happy, happy to be eating breakfast before sunrise.
But something happened, and I broke it again. And again, and, if I recall correctly, once more again.
Oh, God and His mysterious ways again.
I was heart-sick from the thought of having broken the Fast. I was sad, I was angry, I was a lot of things.
I was very, very distraught.
When I had broken it “accidentally” last year, I found myself thinking, “Ok, so it happened. I have to pay attention to that so it doesn’t happen again.”
I was disappointed, but I wasn’t heart-broken.
When I felt like I needed to end it early because I *was* feeling continually physically sick, I was disappointed, but I wasn’t heart-broken.
On Monday and Tuesday I was heartbroken. In fact, this morning, I woke up and I was still heart-broken about it.
Fortunately for me, I had met someone who, either intentionally or unintentionally, put everything into perspective for me. He asked me one simple question. “Do you consider yourself Baha’i?”
My standard answer is “No. I’m an interested observer. I have Baha’i leanings. I’m < whatever it was I called myself when I felt I was called to observe the Fast last year >. But, no, I’m not a Baha’i.”
This morning, I was trying to figure out why there was such a huge difference between last year and this year. I mean, I observed it, and I broke it. But I never felt that I had failed it because, as I said last year, “Something doesn’t have to be 100% successful to be 100% successful.”
I learned a LOT. I learned a lot during that period that had lasting spiritual and emotional impact on me. So how could it have been a failure?
It wasn’t, and it hit me that it wasn’t, because I didn’t have a personal stake in it. While I enjoyed very, very much participating in it, it wasn’t obligatory for me. It was an exercise, an experiment.
Because I wasn’t Baha’i.
So I struggled with it and struggled with it and struggled with it. I’m still not Baha’i. So it’s still not obligatory for me.
Only the overwhelming feeling of failure and sadness made me realize that there is a part of me for which the Fast IS obligatory. Otherwise, it would have been just another experiment that I wasn’t able to complete.
And that is what stopped me. I had been working with a specific obligatory prayer since January since I was dealing with the notion of powerlessness, and I used it because I was drawn to it with the First Step. I didn’t use it because it was obligatory.
But something happened when the obligatory prayer met the obligatory Fast, I think. Because of my weekend sleep, Monday was the first day I recited it in direct conjunction with preparation for a foodless day.
And as much as I want to say “I’m moving towards the Baha’i Faith (thereby ensuring a lack of arrival)” or whatever, but the truth is that I’ve been drawn to the Faith for a while now, over a year.
It started off as curiosity. Then I realized how much it resonated with what I believed. And, strangely enough, it was the the Baha’i Faith that pushed me into attending a Unity church. And while I was getting my Unity groove on, and doing some pretty hard-core healing in the mean time (although, it’s only in retrospect that I recognize that), the Baha’i pull grew stronger and stronger.
In January, when I worked the Third Step and turned my life and my will over to God, I specifically asked God for his aid in making the things that were good for me more and more attractive and the things that weren’t less and less so. I did so with the intention of food, and He decided (which is His right, since He knows so much better than I do!) that it wasn’t limited to food.
It has touched so many different areas of my life, that I’ve barely been able to keep up. Actually, I haven’t been able to keep up.
But the Baha’i Faith is one of them. Whereas I had been “thinking about one day” looking into finding a local study group, I actually did start looking in January. (And it’s only now, that I’m writing, that I’m really starting to put all of this together). While that proved to be disappointing, I did discover some other resources. I started looking, at any rate, rather than merely procrastinating.
Other little things, too, now that I think about it. I had been asked by a friend if I were going to be doing that “Fasting thing” again, and I was surprised, because there was never any doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t be doing it. But looking back, it was a valid question.
I’ve been impulsive almost all of my life. I’ve jumped in without proper examination and ended up breaking commitments.
And that’s something important to me, this newly found power of commitment, even if it wasn’t manifesting in the Fast the past couple of days. I’ve managed it through school. I’ve managed it through a church class–through several church classes, actually. I always thought I’ve been bad at commitment, but I’m learning that it isn’t always true.
And I think it’s ironic, in the way that so much of my life is so ironic, that it took me breaking one commitment to realize that I’ve been trying to make another one all along.