Stephen A. Fuqua (SAF) is a Bahá'í, programmer, and conservation and interfaith advocate in the DFW area of Texas.

March 21, 2007

Naw Ruz Mubarak! Happy New Year!

"Naw Ruz Mubarak" basically means "Happy New Year". The first day of the year in the Bahá'í, Zoroastrian/Parsi, and a few other calendars ended today at sunset. That means yesterday was the last day of Fasting for the Bahá'ís. It was good to be able to eat again during the day and have my coffee, but I'm afraid I overdid the food at the Naw Ruz celebration this evening.

I was reflecting a few days ago how this Fasting business is one of the few certainties in life. Well, relatively speaking. Kind of like taxes in April. I know that every year for the rest of my life — unlike taxes, so long as I'm healthy — I will be Fasting from sunup to sundown for 19 days in March. That's a sobering thought for one who tries not to look further than a year or two out. (I used to look further but have largely given that up as fruitless for now).

This has been a good Fast for me. I feel like I managed to do a bit more spiritual reflection than normal, thanks to a number of factors. For one, I have been leading a "study circle" with a few teenagers, using a book called Reflections on the Life of the Spirit. During the Fast we completed the second of three units, covering the topic of prayer. As work got majorly crazy I almost resigned from a committee I'm on serving the Bahá'ís of Ramsey County, but then as I managed to get past the biggest deadline on the job I found a way to stay. But that decision making process required some real soul-searching — and of course I mean that more or less literally.

At tonight's celebration of the new year I heard a Christian gentleman talking about Lent and how his priest encouraged the congregation to focus on a spiritual fast instead of complaining for forty days about not getting to eat chocolate (a common theme in Lenten fasting). So decided to fast from ingratitude. A friend of his fasted from impatience. That is a lovely concept.

In totally unrelated news, the Bahá'í House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois is faring well in the Chicagoland division of the state of Illinois's 7 Wonders of Illinois contest. I'm sure the competition is wonderful and all, but really are they so unique as the House of Worship? "One of only seven Bahá'í temples in the world at present, this unique structure stands for unity and invites prayer to God." Individuals can vote once a day. I have done so for the past three :-).