Still Testing the Waters

Before he departed for work, Chris said to me, "I like Sabbath, but I like this idea better." The mysterious this idea is Hungry Friday, which I stole from the Episcopal Relief & Development daily Lenten meditations. In fact, you can read it word-for-word in the last post. So, like many things we've recently added to our lives, it's not original. There's no harm though, I think, in taking inspiration from someone else's clever ideas.

I think Chris's first Sabbath was a little overwhelming for him. What can I say? It's hard to disconnect from the world for a day. I don't think I helped him, sadly. I hope that this week will be different: Less sitting around studying heavy tomes, more board games. We have boatloads of board games that have never been played. We polished off Sabbath the last time with a game of checkers, and I wish there had been more of that: more laughing, more talking, more telling the dog he couldn't play because this was a two-person only game (the downside of sitting on the floor).

But this is not the story of Sabbaths future and past--this is about the new thing we're trying. I stopped eating after our Thursday night meal, much like the guy who introduced the notion to us did. Chris works tonight, and since his work is strenuous he'll have a meal over the course of his shift. Together, we shan't eat until Friday's meal of fruit and bread. The bread-making is a little upside-down: When Chris works weekends and has to be there Friday night, he makes a Mark Bittman sandwich loaf which is SO GOOD. On the Fridays he comes home from work and crashes until afternoon, I take a box of King Arthur Flour bread mix (golden brioche this week--just one stick of butter!), put it in the bread machine, and let the magic happen. All that to say that Chris works harder than I do on most things. ;)

So why do this? Chris and I both agree that fasting is important--it's a post-Orthodox thing. Problem is, we just haven't been doing it. So this Friday is our feeble attempt to right that. I also have motives. When it was at its coldest, I'd take my Anglican rosary and sit in the garage, praying to the Virgin. I didn't wear shoes or socks or a coat, and I began to get a feel for what the homeless experience on cold days with no warmth. Hungry Friday is akin to that, and yet it terrifies me. I always excused myself from fasting because my insulin levels are twice what they should be, but it occurred to me that there are people on the streets who have diabetes and no food plus no place to store their insulin. Do I want to know what suffering is? Try that on for size. I know that fasting one day a week won't give me great insight into what it's like to be hungry--I don't pretend it will. Choosing to be without one day and living without every day are two different things entirely. I hope I can get something out of this besides an inflated head.

Don't worry--we won't be turning off our phones or computers--that's Sabbath stuff. It'll be a normal day, except only water and tea are allowed. Anyway, wish us luck!