Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Being Hungry

Listen. I’m all about fasting and being disciplined before our Father. Get it, friends. But I’ll be the first to admit that I hate being hungry. When I’m hungry I get moody, start throwing fits, pick on strangers and small children, and say things I really don’t mean. My friends are right when they offer me food during these times. I’m like a two-year old. I can’t take care of myself. Within two bites of nearly anything, I start changing back from my werewolf status into the human that I’m supposed to be. [Did that reference hit home with any of my States audience? I hear these things are a big deal these days…] And so, as you can imagine, if I’m just one cranky girl when I’m hungry, can you see entire NATIONS being hungry, all together, in intense heat all day long? For a WHOLE MONTH!??!?

[If you just said, “But it’s dry heat…” we’re not friends anymore. It’s not dry. It’s miserable. If I had air conditioning or any kind of air circulation in my HEATBOX, I mean, apartment, maybe I’d consider that comment. Or if I wasn’t wearing long sleeves and pants and SWEATING. In the SHOWER. Do you know what I do at night? I take a water bottle, spray down my sheets to a gross level of dampness, turn the fan directly on me, and jump under the sheets in a tank top and shorts. I soon freeze out and sleep for about…. an hour. Repeat again. All. Night. Long. While my neighbors are up partying and talking in loud voices and watching Rama TV. Did I mention it was loud? Anyways, I digress….]

Oh yes, everyone’s SUPER hungry, but not only that, there’s no consumption of beverages, not even water, [the ultra-religious claim that they don’t even swallow their own saliva, but rather spit it out all day] and, my personal favorite: no smoking. [Cue Hallelujah Chorus here.] Only this sing-songy attitude of mine only lasts a few seconds as I realize that if my taxi drivers were somewhat creepy and jerky before, when they had their coffee and cigs and shawarma… and they’re now without… all day… it’s not a pleasant experience for any of us. Tempers flare and, in a place where every mole hill is already made into being a mountain, the drama is actually disturbing. Even I get a little nervous sometimes.

The world is swirling around me. Everyone is grumpy, upset, aggressive, mean, growing weak, and so I turn to my friends to clue me in. Rama is a much anticipated month. It’s the month where God’s revelations to humankind are supposed to be increased exponentially. It’s a month where they all up their prayers and closeness to God. It’s a month where they strive and hope for… security. But they’ll find none. Because Is. doesn’t technically offer any. I get different stories and opinions on everything from different friends. Some say that this is the month where, if they try their hardest, pray the most fervently, follow the Fast, observe the proper breaking of the Fast, give alms [charity/donations] and are just the overall best Mus. they can be, that God will have favor on them. Maybe.

My heart breaks. But the ache and sadness I experience with their determination and desperation is also one of the strongest reminders I have of why I’m here. Some of my American friends here choose to observe the Fast with their Mus. friends for a variety of different reasons—to be in prayer for them, to be alongside them and know what it’s like to fast from sunrise to sunset every day for a month in the desert heat, or to show compassion for their friends with their desire and openness about Is. For me, I’ve decided not to observe. I take the opportunity to talk about why I fast and when—how I don’t follow a prescribed formula or requirements, but do it on a personal level, sometimes with a small community of friends, because of my relationship with my Father. They’re fascinated. Or disappointed. Again, it depends on the friend. Ha.

Sometimes they think it’s so amazing that a J-follower actually fasts and wants to hear God. Other times they think I’m being rude or just “so American” by not participating, and therefore, not respecting the country’s and culture’s guidelines. You never can win. Ha. So I hide my lunch and glass of water behind a picture of my family should anyone come into my office and be offended or turn me into the authorities.

As my sweet friends claim that their hunger, weakness and intense thirst brings them closer to God, I’m hoping that it’s true. That they’re seeking Him with their whole hearts, and that He will be faithful to meet them. To be the only One Who can satisfy. Maybe in a dream? No one can take that personal encounter away from them.


  1. Yes, I hear you about being in a whole country of hungry, grouchy, hot people! Ditto here. My prayer is that as these people fast they would do it to seek the living God, not just to show their own righteousness...

  2. This was fascinating. Having never lived somewhere where this month is observed, I had honestly never thought about everyone being uber grumpy at the same time. Definitely thinking about you guys in these countries during this crucial month. Hang in there! It's winter here~ I'd love a full day of sun (haven't seen the sun for a full day since sometime in early June)!

  3. You two: I should start giving awards to most faithful commenters. Thank you!!

    OT: How'd Rama go for you??

    TTAH: Thanks for reading & sharing & thinking of us! Hope your summer comes soon. :)



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