Thursday, October 11, 2007

Reflections on the Rolling Fast

Yesterday was the day I participated in Bread for the World's rolling fast. Members fasted on different days between 9/6-10/15 to pray & fast as witness against global poverty. This was the 1st time I'd fasted for a cause instead of a holy day tradition. It was also the first time as a mom.

First off, I'll confess. I broke the fast. Early in the day. My toddler grabbed a bagel & without thinking I broke it in chunks for her and ate what she didn't eat. Ack! Not even 9:30AM! I was disappointed, but I didn't scrap the whole day. I thought about why it happened. The key here is "without thinking." Too many times, eating is a habit and not even enjoyable. Did I want it? Was I hungry? Was the bagel yummy? healthy? no, no, no, kinda. How blessed I am that food is often available to me for free! How irresponsible that I would shove it into my bagel-hole without thought of gratitude or need. The only redeeming thing is that my act stemmed from not wanting to waste. But in general, when food is eaten without thought or consious choice it leads to waste, overweightness, and separation from natural & spiritual order. Moving on, I was hypersensitive and extra prayerful. Not in the "Don't smite me" way, but the "Help us to help others" way. And it got easier.

Until lunch. I've never prepared food while fasting before. Additionally, my youngest fell asleep and missed lunch, so I had to do it twice. Each time, I was aware of how I usually eat with them, taste everything before they do, eat portions they won't. Each time, I listened to their happy smackings, tried to write my senators, & thought about parents who sacrifice every day like that. And then dinner came. By then I was irritable because I was hungry and ashamed at my irritability. When I first worked at a soup kitchen, I had the audacity to wonder why some homeless people were snappish with those trying to help. I've understood more over the years, but watching my kids eat while hungry myself gave me an emotional taste of the frustration the poor feel all the time.

Despite my failing in the morning, it was my best fasting experience. The reflections were deeper, the prayers more sincere, letters to Congress were mailed and I am even more committed to my work than before!

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