Today, I am fasting out of respect for my Muslim friends who are currently observing Ramadan. No food or water from first light, through to “sunset”, the exact timing of which was always going to be an issue given that we’ve barely seen the sun all summer. I’m going for 9:50pm…
Much as this is only one day as opposed to a full month, my body is not conditioned to going without sustenance for such an extended period. For me there are no personal religious implications; simply a wish to acknowledge the faith and beliefs of some very good friends of mine, and to recognise the importance of their friendship.
I am not a particularly religious man. I have my beliefs… but they are my beliefs, my truths, borne from personal experience. I would not expect anyone to judge me for what I do or don’t believe… and of course the opposite must also be true.
The fact that I have sat down with Imran and Zak and discussed beliefs, views and opinions at length is a positive thing to me. We are from different backgrounds and cultures, but why should that be a barrier to something as basic as communication, let alone trust and friendship? In my simplistic world, there is no barrier… good people aren’t defined by colour, religion, or any specific characteristic for that matter (although liking cricket obviously helps), they are simply “good people”, with whom I am always happy to spend time.
So yes, today is about respect… but for me, it is also about taking the time to reflect on the people who mean the most to me.
I’ve remembered my four amazing grandparents who each, in their own way, helped to mould the person I’ve become. So many memories… just little (often random) moments that never fail to make me smile, or that kind of comforting feeling that only a grandparent can bring.
Gertie and Eric, Mary and Les – my Gran and Grandad, and my Nannie and Grandad - thank you. I miss you all so much….
I’ve thought about my parents… the hard times I (albeit unintentionally) gave them as I was growing up, and when things went wrong (spectacularly on occasions) during my adult life, how they never gave up on me and how much I value every moment we spend together.
Anna and David - my Mum and Dad - thank you for everything. I’m lucky and proud to be your son.
I’ve thought about the two wonderful lives I’ve helped to create... I’ve thought about my wife Elaine, with whom I am truly blessed to share every day… and those few close friends who have made, continue to make, or hopefully will make such a difference (whether they realise it or not).
I’ve also thought about chocolate, but that’s not quite the same thing….
My adult years have been littered with naivety and mistakes. Part of me wishes that certain things had been different, but if you change one event, you redefine everything that follows and I wouldn’t want that. I am happy where I am now, and grateful for everything (and everyone) in my life that is good, and real.
And that’s just about all really… except for that chocolate. Not long now!!!
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