Breaking the fast

We had the unique opportunity to eat a Ramadan meal together with Abu Muhammed’s family this year. During the month of Ramadan, most Muslims fast from food, drink, and tobacco from very early in the morning (around 4:00AM) until almost 8:00PM. As you can imagine, it can be quite difficult for them to fast from water during the hot afternoons of the Middle Eastern summer. This particular week, we had arranged that we would bring food for the whole family, so we could eat together.

Some of Abu Muhammed’s younger children were waiting outside for us this time, and they were clearly excited to see us. We unloaded the guitar and the food and headed up the steps.

As we entered the house, we congratulated Abu Muhammed on the new doors he had finished installing. He eagerly showed us the closet we had brought as a gift during our previous visit. It was a beautiful thing to see it all put together and standing proudly against the bedroom wall.

After our tour of the house, we sat down around the table and waited for the evening call to prayer, which signals the end of the day of fasting. Once the call finished, Lubna dished out heaping plates of the food she had prepared.

One of the younger daughters commented on the tastiness of the food. Apparently, this particular daughter had been worried about whether Lubna’s cooking would be up to par. Lubna jokingly told her, “I am glad you think I can cook.”

After dinner we sang a few hymns with them. Some of the children were singing along with us, albeit very quietly.

Then Lubna brought out the art supplies so the children could draw some pictures, while Bishara and the men sat out on the front porch. One of the older sons suddenly asked Bishara “Do you all drink espresso?” When we showed interest, he descended the stairs and walked down to a nearby coffee shop, bringing back three cups of espresso on a metal platter.

As we sat on the balcony, Abu Muhammed shared with Bishara that his father had died seven years ago. Since then, he said, he has felt very alone in the world. Bishara encouraged him that he has a heavenly father who cares for him. He urged Abu Muhammed to lift his eyes to heaven and remember that he is never alone.

Of course, they didn’t let us leave without presenting us with more gifts: this time, it was 2 cartons of freshly picked apples.

As we were leaving, Bishara repeatedly assured Abu Muhammed, “We are happy when we are with you.”

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