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Monday, September 6, 2010

Ramadan 11 - عيد مبارك

In Insonesian: Mohon maaf lahir dan batin. (Beg Sorry Born And Interior)

Forgive my sins, both those of the world and those within me. I’m sorry if I’ve sinned against you in the past year whether through commission or omission.

عيد مباركIn Arabic
Which is pronounced: Mean Al Eye Jean Wall Fa Eee Jean

I just cut and pasted that from Diana's Peace Corps blog - it just looks so cool and her translation is so great!

My family has had me practicing saying this in Arabic and Indonesian for the past 3 days. It's important that I get this saying right. I may use it several hundred times during the next few days. When the fasting month is over (in 2 days 13 hours and 35 minutes) people gather with their families and friends and neighbors and eat and ask each other for forgiveness. They wear their new best clothes and give small amounts of money to little kids. I'll be with my current - 2 year family that first night celebrating my birthday. And something secret is planned. That much I can figure out. Some one apologized to me for breaking the surprise. But they said it in the Javanese language so I didn't get it anyway. There is a forgiveness ritual which begins with the oldest person present - which is why when you meet people one of the first things they ask is how old you are.

Then the next morning I leave at 4:30am to catch the train. I have food and presents to take to my first family at my training village where I will take the hands of everyone in my family, beginning with my host father and then my mother and then proceeding down in age and lift the hand and press it to my check or forehead while asking for forgiveness for all the mistakes that I have made.

And let's face it - I, Oma Colleen, have personally committed sins, both the kind that the world saw (Like sitting and crossing my legs and letting the bottoms of my feet face someone and handing something with my left hand and probably a zillion other things that I was and am still clueless about) and the kind within me. (Impatience, anger, frustration, greed, well, probably everything except lust - well, I guess a little lust too.) And I can see that it's useful to say "I’m sorry if I’ve sinned against you in the past year whether through commission or omission."

This 2 days holiday - Idul Fitri - and the week before and after is the biggest and longest school break time. It's kind of like Christmas and Thanksgiving and Confession all rolled up into one giant celebration after starving and thristing yourself for a month. (I don't think thirsting is a real word, but it fits.)

It saddens me to read that there is a church in America that wants to use this time to publicly protest Islam and has discussed burning the Qur'an, the Muslim bible. I think I'll include in my heart asking for forgiveness for the sins that other people also commit.

It's only this illusion of separateness. We really are all the same stuff. All the same oxygen and carbon and hydrogen. All our lives began when stars were being born. We'll all recycle into something else. This little blink of time while I've shown up as this particular woman is just a teeny speck of who I am. Am I really a drop of water distinctly different from other drops of water? We're all a part of this river of life.

Okay, I gotta get ready to go. My Ibu-Mama and I are catching a bus and going 2 hours away to do some serious shopping. I can hear the gate in my courtyard being opened. I need to take a mandi bath and get dressed in town clothes and put on my money pouch. My family specifically told me last night, "No backpack, keep your money tucked inside your clothes." Oh, yea, I guess that's another sin I committed this past year.

Love and hugs, Colleen

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