Archive for the ‘fasting’ Category

Bahai jokes during the fast

March 19, 2011

Next-to-last day of the Baha’i fast. I was just thinking how we like to sometimes joke about it. You can’t do that w/people not fasting. For one thing, they think we’re dying. We’re not. It’s actually healthy to fast. If you do not have some pre-existing medical condition (in which case u are obliged not to fast), it is perfectly healthy. Just darn uncomfortable. We get tired. You can’t go your usual rate of 100 mph. You really must slow down. We take naps when possible. But we get through it.

sometimes we send each other e-mails, “Boy I sure would like a frosted donut right about now!” — “Hey, I was just thinking how good such&so tastes for lunch!”

We talk about how we feel, what our bodies are doing. “I am so tired, I feel like I’m getting sick. My hands are cold.” We feel sorry for ourselves. We’re really not the most FUN people to be around during our fast.

Many of us never cheat. We do not eat or drink a drop from sun-up to sundown. Others of us cheat. Sometimes we feel like we just can’t make it. Sometimes we are super-stressed. The rest of the world doesn’t give a hoot if this is the month of Baha’i Faith fast, so life at our jobs continues at its same pace. This makes it difficult, if not impossible sometimes, not to cheat. You can’t let your students suffer, or your clients, and you can’t mess up at work because you’re fasting. My daughter drives a fork lift. You can’t be foggy-minded while driving a forklift. So she continues w/ caffeine. If I teach a night class, I eat BEFORE sundown. Things like that. Sometimes I have one cup of coffee, mid-morning, before teaching. My class will be better. We don’t get struck by lightning or think we will “go to hell” when this happens.

We also joke about not being able to think straight. Fasting does take its effect. We know this and we accomodate to it. You are not at your absolute best! It is supposed to be difficult, an exercise in sacrifice, an exercise in self discipline. It is never easy.

Some people get a cold (sneeze or cough) and say, “Oh wow, I’m sick, I’d better not fast today!” Then they take a couple days off.

If you travel at least 9 hours, you are not obligated to fast from the time you leave on the trip, to the time you return home. There is a wisdom to the Baha’i fast, we do not put ourselves in danger while driving or traveling! Baha’u’llah was very wise. So, many times Bahai’s take a day trip. When we lived in Indiana we’d take the 2-hour drive to Chicago, mess around in the city for the day, go see the Baha’i temple (which is the only one in North America), and then return home, making sure we take at least 9 hours, in which case, we would go out to lunch, or have snacks and coffee on the road! We are a funny lot.

This time of year makes me feel close to all my Baha’i companions all the way around the globe. In every continent, same time of year, all the Baha’is, if they are between ages 15-70, not pregnant, sick or have some other physical condition that would mean they should never fast, ARE ALL FASTING. For MOST of us, this time of year puts us all on MORE equal footing, for sunrise to sundown times, than if it were in the summer or winter months. For most of the world, the day runs about 12 hours, more or less a few minutes. We know the days are getting longer this time of year, because every single day of the fast, it extends 1-2 minutes. the Muslim fast, for example, changes what time of year it occurs, every year. For us, it’s always March 2nd — 20th.

and we all celebrate the Baha’i new year on March 21st, the first day of Spring, and the Spring equinox.

I’ve been cleaning my house all day today, in preparation for my daughter & her family coming tonight for a couple days. It is a special time of year, when I enjoy the company of others who are also fasting, also Bahai’s.


16th day of the fast

March 17, 2011

3 days left of the Baha’i fast, which will complete 19 days or 1 Baha’i month. 19 months of 19 days each, with 4-5 days leftover which are the days we give gifts and do service in our communities, and visit friends (that is already past, the end of Feb.). Mar. 21st will be our “New Year” also the 1st day of Spring.

The Baha’i Faith is a worldwide, global religion that believes in the oneness of mankind, and the unity of all the beliefs in the world into one common faith. There is one God, one Creator. It is a lovely faith that respects the spiritual basis and validity of all the world’s major religions.

I am tired tonight and going to bed soon. There are 3 more days to be hungry during the day, to sacrifice something for my Lord. It is not that much to give, really. It unites all the Bahai’s around the world also. It is a special time of year. We are always glad to see it end, but also a little sad.

Of the days of the fast, Baha’u’llah says, “Thou hast endowed every hour of these days with a special virtue, inscrutable to all except Thee, Whose knowledge embraceth all created things.

Thou hast, also, assigned unto every soul a portion of this virtue in accordance with the Tablet of Thy decree and the Scriptures of Thine irrevocable judgment.

Every leaf of these Books and Scriptures Thou hast, moreover, allotted to each one of the peoples and kindreds of the earth.

 (Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 143)

Mar.13, one week to go

March 13, 2011

One more week of the Baha’i fast where we do not eat or drink from sunrise to sundown. That being said, Daylight Savings time doesn’t do a THING for us!! We now wait until 7:30pm to eat dinner.  🙂  Any kind of food sounds good by that time. You don’t care what it is.

I think of the people of northern Japan, who have left their homes which were either destroyed, pulverized by the tsunami or are threatened now by a nuclear reactor meltdown, and they have no power. Japan, one of the most advanced, high-tech societies of the world, with a people-per-sq-mile of something like 900, now has hundreds and thousands of people wandering south, looking for shelter, food and water. There have to be ten thousand personal stories, stories of human giving and generosity, as well as human suffering, but all we see on the news is the same old boring reports. I would like some human stories, personal stories. They also edit the tsunami videos. If you watch, just about when the wave is going to reach a road which still has people on it, it shuts off. They are edited. Makes you wonder what it’s really like out there.

Ghadafi and Libya have disappeared from CNN. You can bet he’s getting ready to strike, or he is already. The world cannot move forward toward unity until ALL the world is free of oppression and dictators who don’t care who they kill as long as they retain power. Only after they achieve democracy will the stories of the WOMEN of the world come out! They will never be free until the men are first freed of the dictators. Then the women will demand their own freedom.

Today I added the last of the photos of gravesites I had taken over spring break. Perhaps someone, sometime, will decide to look for their loved one’s gravesite photo, type in their name and birth or death dates, and up will pop my photo. That is my hope. It all takes time, time to drive to the cemetaries, photograph the stones taking care to get all the information, and then LOTS of time to add them into the website and post the photo.

Yesterday morning I spent about 2 hours, by mistake adding photos to the wrong cemetary. I just thank God I discovered what I did, so I could then delete them all. I would have transfered them easily to the correct cemetary, but when I checked, someone else had already added most of them. There were only a couple that had not already been added. That was a lesson learned.

Yesterday I restarted my 2-mi. daily walk, so it’s time to hit the pavement again right now. Bright and sunny and 74 degrees, how can I complain?

earthquake and tsunami, 11th day of the fast

March 12, 2011

I was going to write every day but it’s too hard.

In the news today is the largest earthquake since 1900, I think they said, off the coast of Japan, which sent a new tsunami across the Pacific. The latest is that they have a number of nuclear power plants with the danger of melting down. IS THIS FOR REAL, have we really created such a world??

What amazes me is the catastrophe all happened with no notice, just a few hours’ time & they were evacuating places. Most people could not escape. Like the people ages ago caught in the volcanic eruption — their silhouettes preserved for centuries to come — the tsunami wave rolled inland for 6 miles, carrying boats, collapsed  buildings, cars, untold hundreds of bodies, human beings, lives that caved in when their buildings did . . .

and the nuclear power that was so indispensable STOPPED as well, when they had to turn off the power and evacuate them. But some of them won’t cool down. I think of babies– deformed– from the megabomb we let fall on HIroshima — Nagasaki — Chernoble and lessons supposedly learned. But we never learn. We recreate the past. We want our comforts and pleasant lives.

We sit in awe of nature’s power to wreak havoc on us at any time.

March 9th, 8th day of the fast

March 9, 2011

In the last hour of the 8th day of the fast. 11 more days to go.

My hands go cold at this hour. They are like ice. Of course, the pouring down rain of the afternoon doesn’t help either. Couldn’t quite get myself into “work mode” yet today, so I took a few hours to find 2 gravesites for 2 different people, one in C. and one near D. Island. This is my new hobby. I am a contributor to other people’s family history searches, hoping that someday, this valiant effort on my part (catch the humor here) will be rewarded in solving the mystery of my great-grandfather James Agnew. I am resigned to the fact that this may never happen, and if it does it will be after much tedious effort on my part with little reward. I am at the end of the easy search part. The rest, if there is anything out there to find, will not come easy. The few remaining survivors on my Agnew side do not answer my calls or letters. It is a family doomed with some secret curse of unrelenting antagonism that never goes away. So, I find a relative’s address and even their phone number, but they don’t answer my letters, and do not take my calls. If they really are out there, they are either too old to remember who I am, too young to know who I am, or they just don’t care.

Spent a couple days in Charleston which was a fun little break w/ my husband. We found time for a walk on the ocean, 1 museum, 1 poetry venue, the only tea plantation in North America, and a 300-400-yr-old live oak tree that sprawled all over a small park. It was a good time and a good getaway.

I wanted to write a poem for my husband’s poetry night tonight, just for fun, not polished, just spew something out. Here it is:

Life at 57

I would like to write a brief synopsis

of life at 57.

Last night, I heard a woman read,

Her poems full of small children

 and the wonders of playing with a 2-yr-old,

watching her children take their first steps,

wondering who they will be when they grow up,

She called home

As soon as she finished reading,

To see how they were doing,

A few brief hours without her,

Were they still alive??

— Oh, okay, GOOD, fine,

She left soon after,

And I wanted to tell her,

She could have sold more books

If she had stayed,

MY children are all grown up,

Two happily married,

One never married,

One now twice divorced,

Four children

in four different states,

My husband and I in yet another,

Come together for vacation once a year,

Post pictures and statuses

On Facebook,

Four grandchildren –3 boys, and a girl,

Decorate our office walls,

And I   – I have made it

To each and every birth so far,

One time traveling by greyhound bus,

Which is all we could afford,

My intuition telling me not to wait,

I left a day early,

Received the call at 2am,

Her water broke,

She was in labor,

I arrived, my daughter kneeling by the bed,

Her moaning telling me there was not much time,

We barely made it to the Birthing Center,

Four years later, I held that one in my arms

When baby sister arrived –

I have outlived the age of my father’s death

By 7 years, so far,

I have buried my mother, my older brother,

A woman in her 50s has a certain perspective

on death – and life,

She perhaps picked up some wisdom along the way,

You don’t care to PLEASE so much anymore,

You don’t always feel the need to smile,

There is not as much DEMAND to look your best,

Men don’t honk, or proposition you,

when you go walking,

Life slows down,

You notice a flower blooming,

A walk by the pond will make your day,

You develop an appreciation

For an evening with friends,

THIS evening –right now– is as important as any other,

And NOTHING, anymore, surprises you.

You know that no matter WHAT you do,

Some people just plain WON’T LIKE YOU,

There is nothing you can do about it,

And it doesn’t even matter.

Life is not about that.

It is more about moments – and your response to them,

And it is very, very sweet.                  …. To be continued….  3/09/2011       Carol F. Black

that all nations should become one in faith

March 6, 2011

Tonight I think of all those living under severe oppression, and the hypocracy of us going into Iraq to “free the people” and undo the Saddam Hussein regime, but not lifting a finger for the people in Libya and elsewhere who obviously live under a maniac and severe oppression and fear.

And I think of the dear friends, the dear souls who went into prison in Iran just for believing in the oneness of mankind. The Bahai’s of Iran who live under severe oppression for believing in their faith, who are upright citizens of their countries, have a faith that tells them to obey their governments, who have the audacity to promote the equality of women and men and education for all, and who are tainted with a mockery of justice that calls them criminals. Please God, if Ye wish, free them from this horrible situation. Let their faith be proclaimed throughout the world so all can see the world-embracing upliftment it brings to the entire world.

“We desire but the good of the world and the happiness of the nations; yet they deem us a stirrer-up of strife and sedition worthy of bondage and banishment…. That all nations should become one in faith and all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men should be strengthened; that diversity of religion should cease, and differences of race be annulled — what harm is there in this? . . . Yet so it shall be; these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the ‘Most Great Peace’ shall come….”  –Baha’u’llah as quoted to Edward Granville Browne, historian.

4th day of– the fast

March 5, 2011

Happy March 5th. Had a very relaxing day home w/ my hubby today. Fasting wasn’t too bad, it’s amazing how GOOD food tastes at sunset. I enjoy cooking during the fast. It is a relief when it’s an hour before sundown, because I can start preparing food, & know when it is done, we can eat! Got thru grading part of another midterm, have essay questions left to do tomorrow. Rainy overcast day, went to buy a few groceries, watched PU lose to Iowa, watched more tv. Which leads to this thought:

How many cop shows can they come up with?? I teach criminology so I find them interesting. Now there’s one of Alaska state troopers?! Give me a break! About the only place they could be effective in any way is along the coast. I didn’t know they have banned alcohol in some 33 communities in Alaska, due to the disaster it causes in human lives, especially in poor, native communities. So of course, now they have bootleggers — people selling alcohol illegally. Alcohol screws up people’s lives and I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it disappear off the face of the earth. Then have everyone figure out how to live without it. It’s not worth it, what it does to people & families.

On another RAMBLING note, if I see another show about some white guy paying native peoples to wander around their countryside looking for “wild animals” or “beasts” or try to prove he can “survive,” I think I’m going to puke.

and that is my random post of the day.

3rd day of the fast

March 4, 2011

First, this is my 39th anniversary with my husband. Makes me very old, but actually, we got married at ages 18 & 19. What did we know? Nothing!

Second, today begins Spring Break at my college. My hallway is already cleared of all activity, as classes are over for the day. Me? Have grading to do, midterm grades due Monday, just going to sit here & relax in the quiet. Outside, students are putting things in their cars & leaving. I am hungry & fasting so will just sit here & do some relaxed work.

One of my classes did really badly on their midterm. Always amazes me, as you think they are with you & then you find out, guess not. I think a lot of it has to do w/ reading word problems, putting things into context & being able to use the terms, rather than memorizing a definition. So when we return, we will do a lot of that in class. (Sucks for their midterm grades, tho’!)

Third, I’m thinking again of my book. Published but unaffordable. Just have to manage to do something about that. Noticed a few used copies are now available online for just over $90. NEW price being $108. for a 200p. double-sided paperback book. In any case, I still look at it, feel it, open it and read a few pages, & am glad it is done, published, and good quality. Just have to figure out a way to make the information publicly available. (Journal articles is one possibility.)

Four, for once we are not traveling to Indiana on my spring break. We are actually going to CHARLESTON, just the TWO of us, this Monday! That is a new experience! We always go visit family or travel w/ family. It will be fun.

2nd day of the fast

March 3, 2011

College basketball game last night ended after 11:00pm in triple overtime. And we LOST. I had 2 hours of work this morning before leaving at 8am to go print and grade 2 midterms. Today is the 2nd day of the fast. So now you know how I’m feeling today!

. . . Now 5:35, one hour before the sun goes down, I want to write that doing a fast teaches you many things. One thing it teaches you, is how most of the world feels when they go around and function in their daily life while hungry. It is a weird sensation. You just get used to feeling hungry, and then you forget about it. It becomes a part of you, a part of how you physically feel all throughout the day. So you find yourself thinking things like, “Wow, I really don’t feel good, maybe I’m coming down with something, my head hurts, my throat is burning, etc.” And then you remember, “Oh yeah, I’m fasting.”

Two-thirds of the world’s people live on something comparable to $2.00 /day. It just makes you think about people who walk around every day feeling like this and not knowing they’re going to have a nice dinner at the hour of sunset.

1st day of the fast

March 2, 2011

Today began a 19-day fast in the Baha’i calendar. “YOU DON’T EAT FOR 19 DAYS??”  YES, we would die if we didn’t. It’s really not that difficult. We just do without food and/or drink from sunrise to sundown. About 12 hours.

There are many health benefits to fasting, but I can tell you that I would never do it for health reasons. Not in a million years. The only way I do it is for the love of God. What gift can I give? Only sacrifice, and this is not much compared to all the sufferings of the Holy Ones of God. That is one of the signs of a true Prophet of God. They don’t have money or worldly goods, they are humble servants of the people of all classes and categories, and they suffer their whole life long.

So we are getting ready to break our first day of fasting here, my husband and I, and I thought I’d try to post something — anything!— during this 19-day fast, once a day. Whatever is on my mind. That’s the fun of doing a blog.

For today we are driving thru Hardees (gross!!) because we’re on our way to some Newberry basketball! Go Wolves!!

Here is a quote for the day, straight out of the New Testament, Matthew, which shows that Christ talked about fasting:

6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6:17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 6:18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
            (King James Bible, Matthew)