Ash Wednesday

Posted by Censor Librorum on Feb 25, 2009 | Categories: Accountability

 I wondered how hard it was going to be to observe a full Ash Wednesday fast. The medication for my Lyme disease has upset the balance of my blood sugar, making it difficult to go more than a an hour or two without needing to eat.   It was going to be an extra challenge, beyond just going without food for the day. ashcross.png

I started the day at 4 am like I usually do. I had a small meal of bread and cheese with my medication, and resolved to make it to 5 pm for dinner.

When my body wanted to eat again at 7, I had a small glass of vegetable juice.   I had another one an hour later.   That carried me to 11 am, when I thought about lunch. Using an old trick from giving up smoking, before the desire to eat  started to take over  I thought of something else.  

When I felt a tinge of hunger, or my mind told me how good some food would taste, I focused on the purpose of my fast today – to live free of all the little hungers, urges, and wants that consciously and  unconsciously populate my  days.  

Around 1 pm I spent an hour at the gym on the treadmill and cardio machines, then doing weights and situps.   My body feels good with a good sweat, and when you work out you don’t want to eat.   I needed salt, so I had another vegetable juice.

The rest of the afternoon I spent working on a marketing campaign and answering email.  After all, Ash Wednesday is a work day for me, not a time apart on retreat.

I checked the clock at 3:30 – an hour and a half to go. My resolution wavered a second, but I resolved to go the distance.    

My wife called me from Tampa a few minutes before 5 pm.   When we hung up, she left for a reception and business dinner.   I put the phone down and walked into the kitchen to cook dinner. The day’s fast had ended.

I felt – lighter, calmer, gentler, less hungry.   I usually wolf down my food; tonight I ate slowly and savored every mouthful.   I paused for a moment for grace.

God must have helped me get through 12 hours without any food; when the day before I had a hard time managing 30 minutes  without a handful of cheddar fish or a container of apple sauce.

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