A Radiant Month

The bills weren't paid, the stress was overwhelming, the snow that still did not melt was waiting for her and only her to shovel.

It was March, a radiant month for Bahá'ís because for 19 days all around the world Bahá'ís Fast. The son of the founder of the Bahá'í Faith 'Abdu'l-Bahá describes this spiritual 19 day journey as:

"Fasting is the cause of awakening man. The heart becomes tender and the spirituality of man increase."

As a young child, I would look at my beloved mother and see her pray passionately the obligatory prayer daily not just during this radiant month but always. The routine, the raising of the arms, the kneeling, the bowing... yes the bowing to her Lord. Graceful, romantic.

At 15, when I first attempted to Fast, I was proud and felt such hunger pangs and when I'd come home from school, my mother would ask to see my tongue. If it was white she knew I was fasting. I thought that was so cool, because she believed me and I was so proud. Sure I slipped from time to time and recall a lovely poetic prayer that Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith wrote and part of it is:

"...make me steadfast in Thy love, that my footsteps may not slip on the account of the clamor of Thy creatures..."

and

"We have enjoined upon you fasting during a brief period, and at its close have designated for you Naw-Rúz as a feast. The traveler, the ailing, those who are with child or giving suck, are not bound by the fast... Abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sundown, and beware lest desire deprive you of this grace that is appointed in the Book."

Why do I remember this snow in March. Because through all my mothers hardships she was incomparable and steadfast. And after the 19 days were complete, the snow did melt and a new life, a new spring, a new day was beginning. We reward ourselves for fasting with Naw-Rúz (Naw means New and Ruz means day) -- the Iranian New Year.

Years have gone by, decades, and this radiant month is eagerly anticipated and very rarely do I feel the hunger pangs because these days I've lost a father, I've matured, I have brothers and sisters (the Yaran) who are imprisoned in Iran for being a Bahá'í. I was going to say simply being a Bahá'í but there is nothing simple in this world when a person of any religion stands up for justice.

I love this radiant month because it's the priceless gift that we receive and a constant reminder of our Lord.

For more information about Bahá'í's, please visit this site.

A hui hou kākou