Thursday, 3 January 2008

New Year 2008: Loony Dook and Unexplored Waters

Thought for the Day - BBC Radio Scotland
Amanullah De Sondy
Thursday 3rd January 2008

New Year revelers across Europe, from Italy to Ireland, splashed into 2008, by taking a dip in icy waters. In Scotland, the annual Loony Dook took place with a freezing, festive plunge into the Firth of Forth near the Forth Rail Bridge. Many swimmers were raising money for charity. And across the globe in Afghanistan, soldiers from the 52nd brigade, raised over £5,000 by running a 24 hr marathon for the British Limbless Ex-Servicemen’s Association.

At a time when the world seems full of death, conflict and destruction happy events like these are a welcome relief. After the death of Benazir Bhutto I was comforted by the wise words of an Episcopalian Minister who said that prayers and protests were a positive thing that believers could do. This reminded me of the saying of the prophet Muhammad, that belief is attached to the heart but confirmed by the tongue.

Not everyone can express their beliefs through words and so actions sometimes speak louder than words. Maybe those splashing into icy waters were a reminder that we can still launch out into the cold and dark, with energy and optimism.

It’s easy to sit back and watch the world pass by, but the world demands action from us all, even at what seems the most insignificant level. There’s a danger that our smiles are lost in the sea of misery that sometimes surrounds us, but surely there must be a balance between the two.

It upsets me to see that some Muslims believe that religion must bring a sombre and reserved approach to life. For me, upholding goodness must be mixed with ample amounts of having fun. I would find it unusual if God didn’t have a chuckle at some of the Loony Dook dippers.

So here’s hoping that in 2008 we all push ourselves boldly into our own unexplored waters.