Friday, October 1, 2010

The Little Things...

As I stare at the blank open document and wonder what thoughts or random musings I should sprinkle upon it today, I take a long and drawn-out sip of lovely morning coffee and hear a contented little sigh escape from my happy lips.  And then it hits me… I don’t need to wax and wane about some monumental topic.  Sometimes it’s the little things in life that mean the most. 
I know that line sounds like something I stole off a Hallmark greeting card (no, I don’t mean the ones that play gaudy music and have bawdy bathroom humor birthday wishes—I mean the other kind with the clich├ęd rainbows and butterflies sending get well wishes your way--- although the singing bathroom humor ones often spout more wisdom than the others).  Anyway, I swear I’m not posting about rainbows or butterflies or even the little smiles our kids’ might put on our faces with their out-of-place innocently funny comments (now there’s another post just begging to be written).
The little things I’m talking about are that first sip of morning coffee, that tiny bite of dark chocolate cake that you may think twice about and then sink your teeth into with utter abandon, or that extra few minutes of sleep that you squeeze in once you’ve hit the snooze button seven times more than you should have (but subconsciously you know it’s okay because you’ve set your upstairs alarm clock to be 10 minutes fast just in case).  The funny thing though, is sometimes it takes some serious stepping away from the good stuff to know how good the stuff really is (not necessarily breaking up with the chocolate or coffee—but maybe just taking a break).
A few weeks ago, my mind, body, and soul went through the annual “break” of Ramadan.  Yep, it’s that month of fasting that many people know has something to do with Muslims, but aren’t quite sure what it entails exactly.  It’s the month where no food or drink is allowed for observant Muslims from sunrise to sunset every day.  Since the Islamic months are based on a lunar calendar, the month of Ramadan changes every year.  This year the month began in mid-August with sunrise tolling in at around 4 am and sunset extending past 8:00 pm.  Difficult to go through all those hours with no food and drink, you ask?  Yes… and no.  The food and drink are the easy parts after the first few days of your body adjusting to a different intake level.  It’s the spiritual part that’s a bit trickier.  The Muslim fast is about more than just learning patience and self-discipline; it’s also about focusing on the good things you’ve got in life and realizing that others do live without the basics every day.  It’s quite an eye, heart, and pocket-opener on an empty stomach.  It’ also amazing how changing something simple like an often mindless routine of eating and drinking can completely change entire perspectives, thought processes, and actions.
As I reach over for another “ahhhhhh” sip of my French vanilla flavored coffee, I realize that the little things don’t seem so little when you’ve taken a break from them.  Mixing things up and stepping away from routine is such an awesome awakener when you’re stuck in a rut.  Funny, but I’m suddenly feeling a serious craving for a bite of dark chocolate cake.  Looks like a great time for another “ahhhhh” moment. J
  -Suzy Ismail

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