I’m fasting this week. I’m probably not supposed to tell you that. I think I’m supposed to suffer in silence when I do things like this. I’m fairly sure the withholding of that information has something to do with gaining humility but fasting makes me cranky and so I’m telling you about it. It’s a blood sugar issue on a physical level and a deprivation issue on the spiritual side. Why the hell would I choose to fast then?
I would so love to say that it’s because I do this at the start of the new year in an attempt to gain spiritual and physical insights…to “reset” my systems…but that’d be a lie. I’ve never really fasted like this before, eating nothing but raw food smoothies. I drank a smoothie that had raw beets in it today…BEETS. This is serious.
I’d consider doing a whole “cleanse” gig which means no food at all, but frankly the blood sugar thing is real and I do faint. It’s not pretty. I get sweaty and panicked then my eyes roll back in my head and I lose consciousness, usually hitting my head on the floor in the process. No one ever catches me when I faint. The movies in which a woman places her hand gingerly on her forehead and falls away as the handsome stranger catches her tenderly before she hits the floor…those movies are fiction and they’re stupid too. I told you, I get cranky. Forgive me.
I’m telling you I’m fasting today though because of the inner dialogue I’ve been having this 2nd day of a three day fast. It wasn’t until this dialogue stared rolling that I realized something. I don’t think ahead well enough. That’s not strictly true, I do think ahead but I think WAY ahead, like 20 years ahead. I don’t often think, say, a week ahead. I am stuck on either the very very present or the far far future. I wonder if that is why this catechumate process is so difficult. I can only think about this one moment in front of me, to pray, to read, to listen OR 10 years in the future when I am far more practiced, part of a larger community and secure in some way because time has given me that allowance.
I had this thought because as I whined about the fasting to God I actually thought the words, “You know, I’m doing this for US…you and me.” I then discovered that actually, while this might be true on some level it’s not something I articulated to myself or to God any earlier than this moment. I had, in effect, commandeered this fast to fit my particular spiritual need in that specific moment, to justify my whining. That’s probably not a sin and yet I felt regret. I wish I HAD designated this time for us. I wish I had thought a little more deeply about the reasons for letting go of my most accessible and least considered comforts.
I can’t live in regret, I know this. For me, self imposed suffering, whether it’s whining about fasting or regretting the way I’ve walked the road to the fasting often ends up only fulfilling some old, damaged need to be a victim. The real fast needs to happen on another level, apart from the avoidance of certain foods or the abstinence of meals. The real fast I need to embrace over this three days takes place in my heart rather than my stomach. I am choosing for the time left in this to give up my attitude of victim, my sense of what is lacking in me, what is lacking in my life. It’s only in setting aside the self importance, the wacky narcissism that comes with my insecurity that I can begin to embrace the truth of who I am in Him.
And beets…I’m pretty sure I’m giving up beets.