Day five and I'm surprised by the fact that fasting isn't that difficult. I mean it's not easy to go all day without eating, but I think it's easier than, say, eating ONLY ONE really good chocolate chip cookie. There's something about total abstinence that takes the pressure off.
That said, by 8:30ish (it gets earlier each day according to the sunset) I'm ready for a big pile of food. I suspect with all I eat in the evening and the breakfast I sneak in before dawn I'm not reducing total caloric intake by much. It's not an ideal diet plan. But that's not my motive anyway. I do feel a strong sense of accomplishment that I've kept to the schedule thus far. I've had plenty of temptations, including a full weekend at the cabin with my fabulous family (my parents and 7 of my 8 siblings and their families) which typically means good food and abundant snacking. Thankfully my family was very supportive and there's nothing like 31 witnesses to keep you honest.
I'm also surprised by what I'm finding in the Qur'an. I have the book divided into 30 equal portions, one for each day of Ramadan. I read with two pens: a black one for underlining things I like and a red one for underlining things that don't jive with my personal beliefs. I'm into the fifth sura now and of the hundreds of verses I've read, there are only a handful that I felt compelled to underline in red. Why does this surprise me? I don't know. I guess I forgot that most religions have, at their core, the same fundamental principles: obey God, avoid hypocrisy, be kind to others, and keep your promises. The Qur'an is, thus far, largely devoted to these ideas and to predicting rewards for the believers (paradisaical gardens with rivers beneath them and pure spouses) and the unbelievers (the scorchings of hell). My strongest personal objection is merely that there is such a theme of division between these two groups. Many many verses are about the seemingly clear-cut differences between the faithful and the blasphemers. I suppose my own scriptures are no different. I just wouldn't mind spending more time admitting that we are all inherently good and deeply flawed at the same time, that we all struggle with demons and wish to be angels, that some days we believe and some days we doubt.
I sense a trend to my musings today. It's night: I can feast. It's day: I must fast. Some people are sinners and will pay dearly. Some are believers (Mormon equivalent: righteous saints) and will be rewarded. The avoidance of ambiguity makes all manner of things easier. It's moderation that's hard.