Monday, November 02, 2009
Return of the fast
The other special aspect of Fast Sunday is that part of the church meeting is set aside for members to volunteer to come to the pulpit and bear testimony of Jesus Christ. If you are ever thinking of visiting a Mormon church meeting, I would find myself torn between recommending you seek out a Fast Sunday to do so, and begging you to steer clear of the chapel on that day, of all days. On the one hand, some of the most heartfelt and sincere testimonies I've ever heard have taken place on Fast Sunday. On the other hand, there are weird people in every religion and Fast Sunday tends to bring the Mormon weirdos out of the woodwork (and up to the pulpit). Let's just leave it at that.
As in the Muslim tradition of Ramadan, exceptions to the fast are made for children, people who are sick, or those who have chronic health conditions that make it impossible for them to go without food. Exceptions are also made for women who are pregnant or nursing, which is how it came about that I haven't participated in Fast Sunday for nearly five years. Yesterday, I realized I was neither gestating nor nursing an infant, so I fasted.
I was a little worried about how I'd do. When you think about it, I'd basically been feeding my face every 2-3 daytime hours for five years. As I went through the day yesterday, the clock seemed to slow down. I wasn't always thinking about what I was going to eat next. I actually got to experience hunger and remember how it feels to go without food. In the end, it was very refreshing and liberating. When it came time to eat again, the food tasted that much better.
While I was pregnant with Miriam, and then nursing Miriam, and then pregnant with Magdalena, and then nursing Magdalena, I did often try to observe the spirit of the fast, if not the law. I'd buy a candy bar on Saturday and then "fast" from eating it all day Sunday. Sometimes I'd combine that tactic with only eating things that I didn't really want to eat, like bread without butter or plain Cheerios without sugar sprinkled on top. Jeremy may have laughed at me for doing it, but it was my best chance at being able to participate in Fast Sunday without jeopardizing my milk supply or making it even more difficult to be pregnant than it already is.
Anyway, I probably lost any non-Mormons who were reading this long ago, but I just wanted to say to Fast Sunday: welcome back. I've missed you. And I'm glad to be a part of you again.
(I've updated the original NaBloPoMo 2009 introductory post with all the participants who said they were in. Let me know if I need to add you!)