I have been making a list of things that I think you might find interesting that I can blog about here. But before I delve into some other topics I thought I would give you a run down of the last month, which has been R*m*d*n. It was a little different this year than last year mainly because our location is closer to the area which is home to the most radical form of Isl*m in this country. Therefore, the c*ll of pr*y*r was LOUDER, longer, and more often. The spirit of friendliness was less from strangers, and EVERY restaurant was shut down until about 5:30pm because of the fasting from sun-up to sundown.
So to break it down in more practical terms, first of all for us it meant listening to and being subjected to constant chanting, singing, and teachings which are done over the loudspeakers of every m*sq**. Now remember that by law there must be a m*sq** within walking distance for every person, so in our surrounding area you can hear at least four strongly and then many others faintly and none of them are doing the same thing. One is chanting, one is singing, one is teaching....etc. It made for a lot of noise and we played praise music loud and late into the night many days!
Secondly, it also meant that if we were out we could not stop and get a drink, no water, no coke, no coffee, nothing...nada. You see, when they fast during this month, they don't even drink, and the most devout will not even swallow their saliva and therefore will spit all day which accounts for the people in the mall that we saw spitting on the floor...yes...don't reread that part you read it correctly the first time! They do however have rather large breakfasts and large nice meals in the evenings....don't even think about going out to eat in the evenings, you will wait in very long lines!! :) Come sundown.....they are ready!
Thirdly, you felt "it". You felt the weight of what was going on around you, sometimes it was palpable, like you could touch it, it felt heavy. You saw people seeking, striving, suffering, and working for that which is freely given but not understood by them. You wanted to say...."Here, let me show you Life!" "It is not something to be earned!" "You have a free gift, believe and receive!" yet in many ways the door was not open to hear what could have been said. But many were and are seeking, so there is always hope!
At the end of this month of fasting is their largest holiday, Id*l F*tr*. They open their homes and invite family and friends and/or go to visit their families. This is also where they ask and extend forgiveness to those around them. What is kind of funny is that the actual translation of what they say is something to the effect of "I am sorry I was born", now, that is not what the phrase means, but I thought it was funny the first time I translated it literally word for word! The phrase when said all together means to ask forgiveness for any wrong doings intentionally or unintentionally, emotionally and physically. Also, one of the reasons they need the 13th month salary is because this is their time to give gifts and feed everyone who visits. Seriously, our town became like Penn Square Mall at Christmas time! For the entire month traffic is horrible and every place, except restaurants, are crowded!
We were privileged to be invited into several homes of those celebrating this holiday. One of them was our helper, who graciously served us a feast, that I knew she could ill afford. Since she cooks our lunch she knows which Macchiato food is the kids favorite and made it for them as well as had Coca-cola and lots of treats and cookies for them to try....all while she, her husband and 2 yr. old son sat in the hallway having already eaten so they could honor us by serving us at their table! Talk about making you feel awkward! Don't get me wrong, I knew they were honoring us and that was extremely thoughtful but I also knew what it took for them to take in and feed a family of six and to give them such honor....I was touched deeply by their generosity. Then we went to several other homes who also graciously served us Cokes and snacks, things they rarely buy for themselves and they too seated us while they sat on the floor. Wow, I know some of it may be done in misguided motivation but you can't help but be moved in your heart for these people! Please remember them in your conversations to the CEO!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Feasting and Fasting
Our helper's husband came to our home to lead us to their house, he is on the motorcycle. You can see the many people that were out to go visiting.Leading up to their home which is connected to the main house owned by the husbands family. Notice how we change positions, we were trying to make room for them, only to be told that they had already eaten and all the spaces were for us! Her husband and son, sitting in the hall Finally seated correctly, and served yummy "Soto Ayam". A tasty chicken and rice soup Once again...giants in the land!! Now all of the sudden you understand why there are munchkin doors in my home!! We are not of average height....and I have never been considered tall until now! :)