The world isn’t fair and no matter what anyone of us do, all we can offer is prayers. I explained that to my son yesterday after he asked why some people suffer in this world. It is children starving on the other side of the globe, innocent men, women, and children dying for no good reason in countries like Syria and Burma, and even here in the United States, there are children who go to bed hungry and who are victims of abuse daily. How do you explain that to a child who has always had a roof over his head, food on his table, and everything he has ever needed? How do you explain that there are children who do not have these basic necessities? I never imagined myself having to answer these questions and people always tell me that life just isn’t fair and that I cannot allow myself to be consumed by the world’s troubles. How can I not be affected? How can anyone of us not be affected?
I don’t talk about my religious views a lot because I have never really been one to do so even though I often mention how my strong belief in God and in my faith is. Both of these things have humbled me in more ways than I ever explain in words. When my foundation was shaken and when I thought that I couldn’t make sense of the difficulties that transpired in the last four years, I leaned on God and my faith to guide me through some of the hardest days of my life. It was my faith and belief in God that helped me to deal with my own illnesses, financial troubles, marital and family discord, and the death of my brother and I thank God every day that my parents taught me about religion and God. Five years ago, I never imagined myself talking about how important my faith was but here I am living it every day.
We are getting close to the end of the Holy month of Ramadan. For those of you who don’t know, Ramadan of the ninth month of the Islamic calendar – the month in which the Quran (Islamic Holy Book) was revealed. Fasting during the month of Ramadan from dawn until dusk is one of the five Pillars of Islam. Muslims believe that he Quran was sent down to the lowest heaven during this month being prepared to be revealed by the Angel Gabriel (Jibraeel in Arabic) to the Islamic Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Also, it is believed that during Ramadan the gates of Heaven are open all month and the gates of Hell are closed.
What is significant about is this the dedication to faith and God. You deny yourself from food, drink, smoking, sexual activity, etc. during the daytime hours and you also devote yourself to God by praying and other performing other acts of faith, including charity. Throughout all of this, your heart becomes more humble and you start to see that there is more to life than luxury.
I am proud of my twelve year old. This is the first year he has been successful in his fasting. I never pushed fasting on him because this year the days are longer and hotter but he made this choice all on his own. That is why I wasn’t surprised when he started asking questions – questions that I couldn’t answer. I am proud of him for seeing that there is more to life than all the luxuries he has been handed but another part of me is sad that he understands that life isn’t fair sometimes. As a parent, you want to protect them from knowing that there is wrong in this world and now that he gets it, I know that he is growing up. I am also so very proud of him because he is turning into this wonderful caring and compassionate young man. He wanted to know what he could do to help others less fortunate than him. I told him to offer prayers and I explained to him the importance of charity – another Pillar of Islam.
I have learned to let go of my demons about how unfair life is. I have struggled and I have gotten up more times than I can count. I know that there is cruelty in this world but I am just one person and if anything, that is why I pray. I don’t pray for me. I pray for my children and for all those I love that they are protected. I also pray for those less fortunate and I don’t always know what I can do – other than giving to charity and helping others out who are less fortunate. In the end, that is how life works. We can put a man on the moon but we cannot find a cure for cancer. I was born free in a country of opportunity while others are born into war with no opportunity. I am blessed and all I can do is pray that others are blessed too. I can also teach my children the power of kindness, charity and prayer. That is all any of us can do. In the grand scheme of things, we are the lucky ones and we owe it to those who are not lucky to offer something as simple as kindness and prayer.