Sunday, March 18, 2012


It is funny to me that giving up meat for forty days is so hard.  I like vegetarian food, I love vegetables, beans, legumes, and nuts (well, nuts I don't love, but I tolerate them without crankiness), I cook vegetarian once or twice a week because it is supposed to be healthy and better for the environment.  But man, this has taken some serious effort.  I'm hungry all the time, which is weird, but I think is likely because I'm craving protein.  If I lived like a vegetarian all the time maybe I would get used to it and eat more beans, nuts, legumes, and eggs, but I feel like I do make sure I am eating these things at every meal and it is not filling me up.  Especially in the evening.  I feel like my stomach is full and I'm scavenging for more, and craving carbs which isn't like me.  I like carbs but I don't usually crave them per se. 

Anyways, what I find most interesting is how desperate my want is for something which I've given up for only 40 days, and which many people live without on a regular basis.  Some by choice.  And maybe that's part of the point; to realize how privileged I am to choose to be in want of something, and be humbled.  It makes me appreciate how human I am, to know that I'm no better than the next guy with some sort of insatiable desire, who may forget that a boundary exists or choose to scale it anyways, and who am I to judge when my desire for something so small as meat overwhelms my mind and I quite possibly could have eaten a few bites of chicken although I swore it off for lent?  It's only food, I should really be able to relinquish my desire for it, especially for a short time to remind myself of my place in this world next to a Holy God who relinquished everything for love of me...  But I can't.  Or not yet, anyways.  Maybe by the time I am seventy, I will have mastered the art of fasting but for now I just stumble along with lots of intention and loads of weakness.

dave bullock

I also totally love Herman Fields' image of lent, depravation, and spring.  It may feel like I do my life's best work when I am content and happy but in fact, I grow and give best when I'm walking in the desert.  It makes no sense to bloom in a season of drought or depravation but when I live without, I grow the most.  I give-imperfectly, but I give in abundance when I am lacking somehow in my own life.  When anger takes over.  When I judge other moms.  When I feel overwhelmed by loneliness or lack of courage or an absence of the qualities that equip me for a specific task (like parenting), this is when I am the most open to God, and to others.  When I am afraid, I am the most beautiful.

There are several points in life when we are wide open, and these are amongst the most beautiful in any life, I think.  When we give birth, when we falter, when we sing in public, and when we die.  When I fast, I feel the extent of my weakness as a human being and how much I need God, and also how fragile I am.  In the timeline of history, I am a brief struggle, one tiny spot of light striking out in a vast space.

For some reason, I am loved.



Rachel @ Lautaret Bohemiet said...

This was really great, Mel. I enjoyed it immensely.

tamie marie said...

It is so true, I think, that when we feel weak and inadequate and needy, then there is space inside of us to receive (from God, from others, from Love). I also think it's true that maybe if we live in too-constant a state of that kind of neediness, it becomes counter-productive. But something like fasting for Lent, and feeling the deep and aching and insatiable-feeling need, it can open us so wide to compassion, as it seems like it's doing for you, and I think it's pretty amazing that just giving up meat for 40 days can have that affect.