I managed to take part in the last week of The Fast. For several days before that I had been only consuming fluids during daylight hours as my airway wasn't quite back to normal. I thought it would be a challenge to get back to it after missing so much but I found that going without food did not produce much suffering.
I had been wondering if there was some unpleasant wisdom in becoming so ill during The Fast and I think returning to the normal patterns of life is answering that question. What I noticed over the past week is that going without food and drink is something I've hardly noticed but all of my attention has immediately been drawn back into the bare necessities of life. It is such an effort to get through the day that that's all I can think about. The long hours that my business requires and the mental responsibilities of keeping everything organized leave little time to focus on spiritual growth or devotion.
There is a real tug of war that I feel about that when thinking about it from a Baha'i point of view. On the one hand our laws make it clear that a significant portion of our lives should be spent in communion with God and service to the Faith, but on the other hand we are urged to excel in our occupations and consider work as worship. Then there is the practical element of simply needing to work long and hard to make sure we have a business that functions. But then, of course, how does one find the strength to expend so much energy if the spirit is not nourished?
There is irony in the absence of fasting being what inspires the reflection that is supposed to come with The Fast. However those 19 days are over now and with the Naw Ruz celebrations of the last couple of days we move onto a new season. We were excited to be able to join our community to celebrate the holiday as we all broke our fast for the last time this year together. We also took March 21st off and closed the business for some much valued family time. My hope it that in the year to come I will be able to maintain the spirit of reflection that has come with this year's Fast.