I’ve spoken before about the principle of fasting. This is something that we do in our church, if we are physically able to do so, once a month as a ward, giving up two meals and donating their value for the blessing of the poor. And from time to time, we may choose to fast individually, to foster a greater connection to the Almighty, to receive needed inspiration or guidance, or on behalf of a loved one with serious personal needs.
I fasted a lot when I was a new member of the church. I had many changes to make, and I had gone twenty-three years without much of a connection to Heaven. For me, fasting increased the depth and sincerity of my prayers, enabled me to strengthen or adopt character traits which my parents had taught by precept and example [but which I may not have embraced] and helped me to feel really clean in my heart.
I was not plagued with the headaches which many people experience when they fast. I did not get dizzy, or cranky, or excessively hungry. I got answers. And I liked it.
After four children in seven years (and a fifth one four years later) and month after month of breastfeeding, plus a string of minor health challenges, medications which required me to take them with food, and general you-name-it, I sadly concluded that my fasting days were over. I continued to make a monthly donation to the fast offering fund. I continued to bear testimony as inspired, at our monthly fast-and-testimony meetings, about Heaven’s blessings and tender mercies in my life. And I really, really missed that clear connection.
I woke up Wednesday morning feeling tired, achy, and scattered. [Hush.] On the drive into work, it came to me that maybe the best thing I could do, would be to fast. I would take the day an hour or so at a time, monitoring myself for negative physical or emotional symptoms, and see how it went. I spent the rest of that drive singing bits and pieces of my favorite hymns to put myself in the right frame of mind, as I had not begun a proper fast with prayer after dinner on Tuesday night.
It went wonderfully. I was productive, I was clear-headed, I had enormous energy, and I was deeply happy all day. Truly, one of the best days in recent history. And I am looking forward to next Fast Sunday, because I have proven to myself that I am not going to faint or get weird[er] if I attempt to honor that particular commandment.
Where it turned out to be a not-so-bright idea, is the fact that I was scheduled for a massage that afternoon, in preparation for which I should have been hydrating steadily all day. I did break my fast after the massage, drinking two glasses of water before leaving the office to head toward the temple. I stopped at Rockfish and had a real meal: cream of jalapeno soup and one of their heavenly side salads. I drank more water. And I paid for it Thursday and yesterday.
The massage itself went well. She said there had been so much improvement in my back, that it was almost as if it were a different back. So she focused her efforts on the top of my neck, my traps, and my lower spine between the sacral dimples and my coccyx.
Ow. Ow!Ow!Ow!Ow!Ow! I am [still] hearing from bits that I didn’t even know I had. And they are not warbling “Indian Love Call.”
When I went to bed Wednesday night, my left ankle looked like a Shar Pei. Bulges and folds going this way and that, all of them distinctly angry. I was so sleepy that I forgot to set the alarm on Wednesday night. I got seven hours of sleep. You wouldn’t have known it by the state of my feet and ankles when I woke up Thursday morning. I was on my third tall glass (a Wendy’s “medium”, so maybe a quart?) of water when I started the draft of this post, that morning. I hit the bathroom about once an hour all day, and the swelling had gone down significantly, as had the related discomfort, by the time I left for the temple on Thursday night. I got through that day with patience and a modicum of dignity.
Yesterday was not significantly better. I did set the alarm on Thursday night, but I woke when it was light, in a panic, ten minutes before I needed to leave for work. Turns out that my alarm was set to go off at 5:45 at night. (I woke ahead of the alarm on Monday and Tuesday, thus had not discovered this. But it explains why I woke up late on Wednesday and Thursday.)
Lesson learned. Ecclesiastes was no fool. To everything there is a time, and a season, and a purpose. I can fast, and I need to pick my timing better. And it is unwise for me to attend the temple on two successive nights, particularly when it is 107F outside.
I have about six inches left to knit on the Bittiest’s birthday gift. I may very well finish it tomorrow. It will be interesting to see which runs out first, the yarn, or my patience with going round and round in one-row spirals of stockinette. I will be ready for fat yarn and patterned knitting when this project is done.
I would go sit on the couch and knit some more, but my iPod is charging. I suppose I could put in a movie. What I really want, is to go back to bed, but I have the temple with my ward this morning, and all sorts of noodling-about in the middle of the day, and dinner at the new guy’s tonight, and then the dance. He told me to bring a small cooler, so I can take home leftovers.
It was so good to serve with him in the temple on Wednesday night. I’ve invited him to join our ward this morning, but I’m not holding my breath on that. He tires very easily, and I would prefer to enjoy his company at dinner tonight and then a slow dance or two tonight before we go to our respective homes and crash.
I am not planning on a late night, tonight. This heat is really taking it out of me. But my heart is peaceful, even if my ankles are intermittently cranky. Life is good.
Dad would have been 106 today. Middlest had her umpteenth on Thursday. Firstborn’s is a week from today. I do not understand how a young thing like me [snort!] can be the mother of people their age.
- Four years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!