Ramadan is HARD!
I didn't really expect that. I've been fasting pretty regularly since I was eight years old, usually for approximately 24-hour stints. I figured I'd be able to take fasting for just the daylight hours everyday pretty much in stride.
There are some things I didn't factor in. Such as the fact that daylight hours are extending right now. And the meals before and after the fast are part of the celebration too.
According to the Athan Pro app that I downloaded to help me stay on track, my day this morning was supposed to start at 4:26 with prayer. Sunrise was at 6:12 and my eating and morning's water intake needed to be done by then. I'll join across the miles in prayer at 1:30 this afternoon and 5:31 this evening. Then there's prayer again to break the fast at 8:49, when the sun dips below the horizon and finally at 10:19 before bed.
If I follow that schedule, I'll get a maximum of 6 hours of sleep nightly right now, and 4.5 hours by the time the month ends. I keep thinking about all those Muslim mothers who need to be up in time to prepare the morning meal. And then there's the clean up after iftar, the nightly feast. Do they sleep at all?
I tried napping during the day. It didn't work very well. I have some important deadlines I'm trying to meet and once I'm up, my mind is racing.
It's been a whole week now. It should be a week tomorrow, but I started fasting through the daylight hours last Thursday. I didn't understand that Ramadan started that night, not that morning. A few days ago, I realized I was not going to be able to maintain the nightly routine. I decided that, since I am not a Muslim, I can modify the schedule to something I can manage. I still want to participate as much as I can while staying healthy. But for me, staying healthy means I need to break my evening fast at about 6, because if I'm going to be up that early in the morning, I need to be in bed by 9:00 pm. Getting to bed on time is a skill I am still seeking to master, though. I've been late for morning prayer most of the time.
Yesterday, I was so tired I could barely function. And I was moving so slowly that it was impressive that I got anything done.
I did get to bed on time last night, though. And I didn't set my alarm but woke naturally around 5:00. I'm feeling much better today. Better enough to believe that I can make it to the finish line of my modified Ramadan.
The bottom line: I have a new respect for my Muslim sisters and brothers -- especially the mothers. The customary greeting this month is Ramadan Mubarak meaning blessed Ramadan. May we all be blessed.