By BRIAN JODICE
With that out of the way, let’s write.
I’m compelled to share a story with you and I’m grateful for the opportunity to do so on two fronts; One, to the Muggo for providing the platform; and B, to my friend Abid for providing the fuel to this fire.
For those of you who loyally consume both the written word here on the Muggo and my podcast, Pick up the Six, this story will have a little more context for you already.
Assuming otherwise; recently on Pick up the Six a pair of our F3 buddies, Tom and Abid (affectionately known as Banjo and Loom in the F3 sphere of influence), shared an impactful story. Tom and Abid have known each other for going on 15 years. Over the course of that time, both have found their way to Cary, North Carolina, and their friendship has grown, alongside their involvement in F3 here locally.
Tom and Abid have a lot in common. They both have families. They both work to provide for those families. They both like to work out at weirdly early times in the morning and use a strange vernacular only understood by other men in that circle. They are both men of faith, albeit rather different religions.
Thus, the purpose behind this post.
Tom is a Christian, Methodist by practice. Abid is Muslim, a religious minority, not just among his F3 peers but in our local community and state as well.
But these men are not distanced by their religious differences, instead, they are united in the commonality of their faith journeys. And, because of their connection, men that I know and love (you read that right) are accelerating their fellowship and faith with them.
Abid and Muslims across the world are in a period of faith celebration, reflection, and sacrifice known as Ramadan. To liken it to something I’m familiar with as a Christian and Catholic, let’s say it’s like Lent. A given period of time every year dedicated to a deepening one’s faith commitment (at least that’s the idea behind it).
During the 30-days of Ramadan, Abid is committing to his faith through fasting and prayer. I had the honor of joining Abid in his home with his family and eight of our other F3 Brothers recently, it was without hyperbole one of the coolest fellowship experiences of my life, not because of some big show, event or spectacle, but because of the simple, satisfying, and thought-provoking evening it was.
For these 30-days, Abid will fast from sun up to sun down. Meaning, he is going without food (and most of the time water) from about 4:27 am to 8:15 pm every day. As a “trying my best” Catholic, even on days of fasting during Lent (think Ash Wednesday), I know I’m not meeting that strict requirement.
At sundown, Abid and his family break the fast, and on this occasion, he graciously welcomed us into his home for that night’s Iftar, the evening meal in which Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast. With open arms and a full table, Abid and his family fed us, shared fellowship with us, and in my case really educated me on their faith.
We passed food around the table (an awesome serving of Biryani), Abid exited for about 10 minutes of his dedicated prayer time, we shared stories and listened to our host talk about his faith and raising his family in that faith as well. His son sat with us and shared his perspective, unique to his father as a first generation American and 20-ish year-old young man.
We had dessert, shared a few more stories and then all went our separate ways as our host set off for his nightly prayer commitment at a local mosque (where he spends a good two hours most nights during Ramadan).
Abid is a wonderful communicator and he said something that really touched my heart. In a moment of real talk, he opened my eyes and caused me to think hard about how I want to better myself as a man who is truly open to connecting with people of other faiths.
Remember that Abid is from Pakistan and Tom from Kentucky, literally two different sides of the world from a pair of faiths that on paper have distinct differences. I had asked him about his connection to Tom, and through that our connection as well, to which he said, “what connects us is the faith element. Not which faith, but the faith that we all are trying to be a good person, to do good by others and to live a good life.”
Be a good person. Do good by others. Live a good life.
We’re tracking you, Abid, and I know I’m grateful that you are setting the example on that front.
Brian Jodice (aka F3 Hello Kitty) is the host of F3’s Pick up the Six Podcast, a husband and dad of two, and the communications and marketing Executive Vice President of an education non-profit in North Carolina. To connect with Brian find him on Twitter @BrianJodice.