As we start another week, it’s time for a new Grateful Heart Monday entry, which for today is for completing a two-day, water-only fast just after Christmas and for never having had to go without food in this life.
We all know how easy it is to consume vast quantities of food and drinks, especially all those delicious things that are filled with lots of sugar and carbohydrates during the Christmas time frame. I had my fair share of consuming them myself including a ton of holiday lattes, cakes, pies, and plenty of other high caloric items. Not that I really have a need at this time to be overly concerned about my weight, given I’m more underweight than anything, I still need to be concerned about the quality of things I’m consuming on a daily basis, especially because of all my ongoing health issues.
But like most people, I forget about all that during the Thanksgiving to Christmas time frame and tend to overindulge more than not and tend to pay the price in my body because of it. So, as I made my way back from visiting my sister on the day after Christmas, I wasn’t feeling all that well in my own skin. Rather, I felt all the results of my consistent indulging throughout my body, in my mood, and ultimately in my overall being and decided to do a two-day fast where I’d drink nothing but water.
What’s funny about that is how it doesn’t sound all that difficult to do, to simply go two full days without food and to drink nothing but water, but it really wasn’t. Sure, when one’s sick, like with a cold or flu, it’s easy to not want to eat, even for several days, because the cravings aren’t there and the sight of food often makes a person feel even more nauseous inside. But, I didn’t feel sick or nauseous after Christmas was over, I just felt like I had been quite gluttonous a little too much for a little too long and was completely uncomfortable in my own skin. That’s probably why I had no problem completing the first 12 hours of my fast. But once my stomach was fully on empty, and once those deep hunger cravings truly began, is when I really became aware of how challenging even a two-day fast can be when only water is being consumed.
For a guy like me who burns a lot of calories usually pretty quickly, it didn’t take long for me to start thinking about quitting the fast before the first of two days had even passed. And with each passing hour where my stomach pains continued to hurt a whole heck of a lot, I realized there were far more people in this world who don’t have a choice to avoid feeling pain like that. That’s when I opted to use that pain and emptiness to ask God for the strength to keep my personal commitment because I wanted to be more aware of all those people who do go through hunger every single day and don’t have any other option.
It is estimated that some 815 million people are starving and it’s something that too many of us tend to forget about, especially during the holiday season when food seems to be in such abundance for a good majority of us. Thus, as I went through the latter half of the first day and into the second day, and got bad headaches, felt totally exhausted, and highly irritable as well, I thought of every single one of those food-deprived people in the world who have to endure feeling like that every, single, day.
So, while my two-day fast was initially meant to just cleanse me a little from a gluttonous holiday season, what it really did, was bring about a greater awareness of one suffering on this planet that is far too often overlooked. Thus, when I finally ate my first bit of food after having nothing but water for two straight days, I offered God my gratitude for always having had an abundance of food in my life. But far more importantly, gratitude for also experiencing, even if it was just for a short bit of time, something that over 815 million people suffer from regularly, as I now have a greater understanding and deeper compassion for all of them…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson