Sorry to post so late (though technically it is still Wednesday), sometimes days don’t go as planned. Anyhow, I am now one week into my Lenten fast from meat and the discipline has led to much thinking. If you recall, I embarked on this fast with two aims in mind. First, I wanted to be in solidarity with those who never get to eat meat of any sort. I saw the fast as an opportunity to be mindful of those who are hungry and to offer prayers on their behalf. Second, I think that our eating practices matter. For example, excessive meat consumption costs too much, both in terms of feed and natural resources. I saw this fast as an opportunity to experiment with a vegetarian diet and through the process observe how I felt and maybe even find a few new dishes.
I began Lent with a true fast on Ash Wednesday. I did find many opportunities to offer quick prayers throughout the day as the “hunger rumblings” made their presence known. I was somewhat surprised because it’s not uncommon for me to reach the end of any given day and to realize that I had not eaten a thing all day. When I was intentional about abstaining, however, I found myself longing for food. Funny how that happens.
At the end of the day, when it was time to break fast (yes, my break fast was a dinner), I was struck by the fact that I could choose to be filled. Moreover, because I had not eaten all day, I did not want to put just anything in my body. I wanted to make sure it was somewhat healthy. In that moment, I realized that my desire to be in solidarity with those who are hungry in some ways could not be fulfilled. It is still an option for me to be sated (and to choose what will sate me).
Since then I have been meatless, though eating fairly regularly. I have found myself wanting meat periodically, and I have used those opportunities to reflect on God’s grace and to pray for those who are hungry. I have also found that at the end of a meal I am not always satisfied. I have just a general desire for more. This again has led to reflection on and prayer for those who are never satisfied.
In the last few days, the desire for meat has been less frequent (though I’m still not always satisfied at the end of a meal). I think that consuming less meat is a real possibility for me. If I can go vegetarian cold turkey, surely I can cut meat out of one or two meals out a week.
These are some of my thoughts one week into the fast. As you can tell, I’ve not had the chance yet to try some new recipes (though I am looking forward to Friday’s dinner). I would love to hear how your fasts are going and the thinking that has accompanied them. Please feel free to leave your reflections in the comments (or if you like, email them straight to me).