Sunday, July 17, 2011

40 Day Fast Day Thirteen: Bring Your Own Nothing

It's my party and I'll use my hands if I want to.
I was so cold today. Cold sets in on a fast because of the low blood pressure, but it's hard to explain exactly how cold you feel. Krista is complaining about my cold feet in bed, which is a nice role reversal. I started the day with a scalding hot shower, hoping it would warm me up, then put on my jeans and a long-sleeved shirt and my sweater. It's sort of my fasting uniform.

I had a dream last night that I was in another culture and was offered some food, and it was so rude to say no that I felt released from my fast, and I gladly started eating with the people of that culture. At least it wasn't oyster crackers. Yay.

Tonight we had a party with some friends at our place, and Krista told everyone before the food was on the table that I was fasting. I loudly proclaimed to her that now I would get no reward in Heaven for my fast (this was a joke, people). She pointed out that everyone would have figured it out when we sat down to the meal, but I wonder. People become pretty unobservant once a plate of food is front of them. They're busy tracking where the mashed potatoes are in relationship to their own place, and if you're good at getting up and bringing food over, getting people drinks, things like that, I think your average person wouldn't even notice if you were eating or not. It made me think about people with eating disorders and feel sorry for them that they can sneak around and not eat and people don't notice them for a long time... I have to be better at watching the people around me to make sure they're getting taken care of!

On the "no treasure in heaven" issue... one of the big reasons that people don't typically talk about fasting and things like that is because Jesus made a big deal about how we shouldn't fast to get attention or praise from the people around us. He said to wash your face and prepare for the day and try to look healthy, and not to wander around all day grimacing and clutching your stomach. He said this, of course, because some people were doing just that... making a big deal about how much they were "suffering" when they didn't eat for a few hours. One of the unfortunate side effects of our response to this has been that those who fast are reticent to talk about it, which means that those who are unlikely to fast never hear about it and get an opportunity to try it out. Granted, our motivations as human beings are often mixed, but I think that we can talk about fasting (and tithing and "good works") in a healthy way without doing it primarily for the props from people around us. I mostly feel embarrassed when people find out I'm fasting, which leads me to talk about it in a self-deprecating way or try to shut down the conversation quickly. I'm working on it... I want people to be able to ask me questions if they're thinking about fasting, or share their own experiences.

Now I'm going to go wrap myself up in a blanket and shiver for the next twenty-three days!