Sunday, October 17, 2010

My Favorite Law

I was recently asked "What is your favorite article that you have written in your blog?" Now this may seem like a strange question, given that this article is called "My Favorite Law", but they are related. You see, I did think a lot about the various articles I have written over the last year (yes, this blog is only a year old, celebrating its birthday this coming week), and decided that my personal favorite is the one about the most difficult law.

But then I started thinking about it and realized that it was, in some way, a negative article. Oh, not in tone or topic, just in perspective.

Well, here is a more positive spin on the same idea. What is my favorite law?

That's a tough question to answer.

There are so many wonderful laws, how can I choose?

My first thought would be to flippantly say "Kitab-i-Aqdas, paragraph 152", and the discerning reader will immediately recognize this as the same law that I said was the most difficult: washing the feet every day in the summer, and every third day in the winter. Oh, and then I could go on and talk about how wonderful it feels to scrub your feet, and talk about the sheer pleasure of washing between the toes.

My second thought would be to talk about the Right of God, and how great it is that we can be more aware of our finances, take a bit out, and use the rest as we will. (Talk about a guilt-free latte.) This really gives us the freedom to enjoy some of the things of this world without any feelings of guilt, as long as they do not come between us and our Creator. Besides, it is "the source of all good".

I could talk about the laws surrounding prayer, and how it is these laws that really uplift our spirit, raising us to spiritual heights we never dreamed of (or in my case, I'm still dreaming of).

Should I refer to the law of marriage? After all, this is the foundation of my life with Marielle and Shoghi.

The more that I think about it, I think my favorite has to be the law of fasting. It seems odd to me as I write it, but I think that's it. It's a challenge, and the rewards seem quite immediate. I mean, my most creative time of the year is during the Fast. It is when the dreams are the strongest and the thoughts of the spiritual are at their most vibrant. It is when I feel most connected with my spiritual side.

It is also a time when I think about others, and the sufferings of the world, the most. It is during the Fast that I am most conscious of helping those around me, as my friends helped me during my first fast.

Aside - When I first became a Baha'i, it was shortly after the Fast ended. Many of my Baha'i friends joked about my waiting so that I could practice being Baha'i before engaging in the Fast. To be honest, I hadn't even realized when the Fast was.  But then, when the Fast did come around again, I was working at a store where I had to catch a train home from work. I soon realized that if I took the first train after work, the sun would set halfway on my way home. As it was almost an hour ride, this did not excite me. I had thought of staying at work and eating there, and just catching the next train after sunset, but this would also have gotten me home fairly late, which didn't excite me either. But it did seem the best alternative. My preference was to request an early shift, and leave early.

Well, the Fast began, and I was scheduled to close that night. Oh well. Scenario one came into play, and so I decided to take my time closing, eat in town, and take a later train. But just as the store was about to close, all the staff walked in. They knew I was doing my first Baha'i fast, and they had all decided to join in. Every one of them had fasted that day, and I didn't even notice. We all pitched in closing the store, and some of them had brought a pot-luck dinner for everyone, which they proceeded to set up. When the sun went down, I was invited to say a prayer, and then they began to ask me about it.

"How did you find your first day of fasting?"

"Well," I said, after finishing my bite of food, "it was very interesting. I feel like I have a new appreciation of the world around me and am more aware of my utter dependence upon my Creator. I thank God I can eat again."

And you know, although that still sounds flippant to my ears all these years later (and still brings a smile to my face), I was actually serious, too. Isn't that the very basis of saying grace at a meal? We thank God for the food we consume. We thank God that we can eat again.

Yeah. While there are so many wonderful laws within the Faith, I think it is this one that has to be my favorite.

Of course I'm sure that will change tomorrow. But, hey, I'm writing this today.

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