Thursday, February 14

Lent Remixed: What?! Wheat AND Rice?!?

Well, we're midway through week one of Lent Remixed. We're fasting from wheat and rice while we pray for the plight of women in India. We thought we'd share a few observations:

Julie:
Photo by jayneandd on Flickr
I haven't died, yet. I thought I might. The first day was the hardest. When I opened my cupboards the morning of the first day, it felt as though everything I owned contained wheat! I silently despaired, shook a fist at my friend Kristin for conning me into giving up both pasta and bread...and said a prayer for India.

I was hungry that first afternoon as I made my kids a mid-afternoon snack. As my three-year-old snuggled on my lap, watching an episode of Diego, I enviously eyed those animal crackers. As he obliviously waved that little morsel of wheat-y goodness three inches under my nose, I found myself seriously considering snatching a cracker from his pile. They smelled SO GOOD (says the woman who doesn't particularly care for animal crackers any other day of the year). I silently shook myself out of my animal cracker trance...and prayed for India.

At work on day two, I found it easy to share what we were doing with others. Most women understand cravings and food -- and so a longing look at the Triscuit box on the lunch table during the morning break opened the door for a funny story about this crazy adventure of Lent Remixed and then opened the door to statistics and information about India. As I walked back down the hallway toward my office, I prayed for India.

Kendra:
Interesting thing I've learned about fasting: It never gets easier. Kyle and I have done a number of fasts over the years and you would think my body would be used to it by now. Nope. Every time I feel like my body and mind are screaming, "What is this? Give something up? I can't do it!" It's never without a fight.

I started our fast off well, made it through breakfast and lunch on Monday without a hitch. Then supper came. I decided we'd have breakfast foods: scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, sausage, and french toast. I, of course, would eat everything but the french toast. But as we sat down to eat: Did I enjoy my eggs? No. Did I enjoy my sausage or fruit? No. All I could focus on was the french toast and how wonderful it smelled. That's what I wanted, only because I couldn't have it. I know, I'm terribly fickle, and slightly embarrassed to admit it.

After dinner, I went back and read Kristin's blog post on India, how 100,000 women were burned last year, and I prayed: Lord, take my focus off my own silliness, my own selfishness, and remind me what's truly important: Protect the women of India. May a generation of people, both men and women, come forth to change what is happening there. Bring peace and unity and equality to India. Change people's hearts. And change my heart while you're at it. Amen.

The rest of this week has been moving along easier than the first day. I am reminded every time my body or mind complains about what it can't have to pray for India. And that is a good thing. Now if I can just get through the next three days of traveling with my family to Florida without eating rice or wheat...

Kristin:
Ok, I admit it. I ate something that contained wheat. Whoops! I was making my kids mac & cheese, which they love, and I put a noodle in my mouth to test its doneness. Then I debated with myself - do I need to spit this out? Seriously? I didn't, even though it didn't even taste good. Too bad I haven't had to test the doneness of oh, say, a triple-chocolate piece of cake.

But it has been a bit of a struggle. Last month, my husband and I gave up refined sugar for the WHOLE month - which basically included most processed foods, including bread. And yet I've found that this is the week where I bemoan my lack of toast (my homemade raspberry jam is so tempting...) and pb&j (another opportunity to eat the jam...).

And then I take a look around my cozy kitchen, my children happily playing nearby, and I think - seriously? I'm sad about wheat and rice? I'm sad that I have to wait until next week to eat toast? What about women in India who don't have that luxury? In the grand scheme of things, my momentary discomfort is so much less than their very great pain. Their longing for freedom. Their longing for a voice. And it is in that moment, when I feel very small in the face of these big problems, that I pray.

***

As Kendra and Kristin and I shared our stories with each other the other day, we discovered that we each CRAVED what we could not have. We found ourselves tempted by foods we wouldn't give a second thought on any other day until it became "forbidden fruit." What is it about human nature that makes us long for what we cannot have, even when we know it isn't particularly delicious or desirable, especially when we can have so many other things that are both delicious and desirable? Do we really remain that vulnerable to the original sin of Adam and Eve in desiring the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, when every other fruit on every other tree was available?

 How's your first week of Lent been going?    

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