My legs were quivering as I sat upon them. After over an hour and a half, we were almost finished with our Taraweeh prayer for the night. There was one more set of prayers left. The imam said, "Allahu akbar." All the men around me got up and formed their lines to cap off yet another night of long and intense prayer. I remained seated as the imam began to recite Qur'an. I felt that I needed some rest before I would go on to stand for another ten minutes. I looked up to my right side, and noticed that the man standing next to me was considerably old. He was hunched over, and almost seemed to be struggling to stand. He hadn't joined the prayer yet, so he looked down at me and smiled. He put his hand on my shoulder and encouraged me, "Come on, just two more to go." A chill went down my spine, and almost seemed to rejuvenate my body. I wondered how this man was getting through every night without taking rests like I did. I had just gotten into my teen years, my body was supposed to be much more capable than his. I was inspired to get right up and join in the prayer with the old man.
After we had finished all the prayers for the night, I watched the old man sit for a few minutes. He must have finally been taking his much needed break. This was one of the first Ramadans where I pledged to put my best foot forward, and I knew that very moment that I would never forget my short moment with that man. His body was not more capable than mine, but it was his level of faith that gave him a sense of strength that I did not have. I could have outran him and I could have out jumped him, but when it came to standing before Allah, I would not be able to outlast him. He had set the bar for me. To this day, I remember that man and remind myself that my limitations are more in my mind than with my physical capabilities.
Ramadan brings out something in all of us, and it allows us all to do things we never thought we could. Even if it's for a month, people can read more Qur'an than they could have imagined. Somehow, the elderly find youth within themselves and manage to pray for hours each night to pray their extra set of Taraweeh prayers. Some people can quit bad habits cold turkey. Individuals who always saw praying as too much of a commitment find themselves praying, or atleast trying to pray all 5 prayers each and every day. There are people who have no interest in Islam, yet they begin asking questions because there's something about this month that makes Muslims more reflective. We begin to question ourselves more, even about things we would never think twice about before. We obtain a kind of strength we never realized we had.
Ramadan really brings out something in all of us, something that was always there. There's a good part of us that seems to always surface during the holy month. Ramadan should serve as a personal precedence. We should strive to always keep that inherent good within all of us a constant force in our actions and intentions.