I miss Ramadan. It’s the one time of year that I reach that MashaAllah, SubhanAllah feeling and keep it. For the rest of the year, it ebbs and flows, coming in and out like a tide. Sometimes high, mostly low. I was struck by how low I’ve been lately when I prayed Asr at Crayon’s house and then five minutes later wondered whether I had prayed yet. Why? Because I had barely been paying enough attention to even remember that I had prayed.
Back in Ramadan I had a chart on the wall with three categories per day, one for reading Qur’an, one for working out and one for “something productive.” I also had fasting, and nightly tarawih and the refreshing spiritual bonus of doing Iftar and then praying Maghrib with very real gratitude for the meal I’d just eaten. I would drink a cup of tea before sitting down in the evening to read Qur’an and pray so that I wouldn’t feel sleepy or lose concentration. It’s no wonder I was in much better spiritual shape, I was doing a lot more for my Iman.
But what am I doing now? Practically nothing. After all, Ramadan is gone, and the time I had for fasting and extra prayer and increased mental focus is gone. Or is it? What’s stopping me from fasting now? Why not add extra nafl to my Isha prayer? Why not take a cup of tea with me on my way to the prayer rug? Why on earth not?
Why can’t I make myself another chart and work on covering it from top to bottom, left to right with little happy face stickers that at least say I’m trying. I may not be a good spiritual athlete, but at least then I won’t be skipping practice every day. I can’t let myself dwell on the time that passed instead of focusing on the opportunities that are present. I think the problem with me is how I’ve come to let myself perceive prayer, at low tide prayer feels like a temporary stop on the way to something else. At high tide, prayer itself is the destination and everything else is just scenery on the way there.
So it’s time for Isha and here’s my cup of tea. I’m raising it to good health and good Iman and refocused efforts towards Taqwa and spiritual growth. Cheers.