We had just arrived in Mecca. The last week had been a hectic and exhausting whirl of planning, buyings, preparations, and festivities, leaving all of the Mudpie family all caught up in the journey.
We arrived at Jeddah airport, dressed in ihram, the first time for the boys. We endured hours of waiting at the airport, and rode a bus where we slept most of the way, totally jet-lagged.
We sleepily arrived at our hotel, and collapsed on our beds. We were woken up by the first azan of subuh and made our way to the Grand Mosque for the first time. The boys were astounded at the sheer size of the building and the foreigness of the congregation.
We wandered into a doorway tall enough to admit giants, and stumbled our way into the basement of the mosque. The qamat sounded, and we hurriedly placed our mats down and prayed following the imam's voice.
This was the very first prayer the Mudpie family was attending at MasjidulHaram for our hajj. I will never forget it.
The imam broke down whilst reciting Surah Ali Imran.
The atmosphere in the mosque was electrifying - your heart wants to cry with him, but your mind tells you to control yourself and concentrate on the prayer. The few seconds the imam took to recover seemed like half an hour.
For Mudpie, the breaking voice of the imam shocked into him the awareness that he was now in the House of God. No ordinary trip with the wife and kids. All the preparations and hustle left behind.
He is now in the Navel of the World.