Saturday, July 26, 2008

Poverty and Fasting

A year ago I had a very good income, for a single woman without dependents. I ate out often, drank wine daily, shopped impulsively. Then I jumped ship.... Also, I am a foodie ... oh, I love food. I revel in all the tastes and textures, always buy too much at the farmers market, let leftovers go moldy because there's something else I want to eat today instead. I planted too many cucumbers, and if I don't get around to making pickles TODAY, they will not last. Tomatoes are starting to ripen, am I going to let them rot on the counter again or am I going to can something? (actually something is taking bites out of the green, hard ones, right in the garden. Got to do something about that)

There are two interrelated issues that I am just beginning to explore: fasting and poverty. Both imply not always eating whatever I feel like eating whenever I feel like eating it. Meat is expensive. Wine is expensive. Everything is expensive if I waste half of it because I don't eat the leftovers, or I don't put up the excess for future. I have boxes and bags of grains and beans in my pantry; if I run out of bread, I can take the extra time to cook a pot of rice, or quinoa, or pasta, or Kashi, or barley, or grits, or ... or... or...... I have all those things and more besides, right in my pantry. Add beans and I don't need meat every day. Anyway I have laying hens, free protein (well, not really -- they eat bought food. But it's a lot cheaper than meat). Fasting and poverty also mean effort, inconvenience, working for my keep. The extra effort to bake bread or cook rice or scrub potatoes, instead of buying bread. The extra thought that goes into keeping track of what is in my refrigerator, and eating the things with the shortest shelf life first. Making those pickles, canning those tomatoes. Watering the garden, tending it so as to maximize the harvest.

Anyway I am overweight, and low in energy, and this body is a temple of the Holy Spirit: working for my meals, and eating less quantity and more mindfully, are good things all around. That said, I am off to take a walk around the lake, for my physical, mental, and spiritual health (tending the temple).

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