Well, I can see that if you don’t post, no-one comes to visit. But then that makes sense. For those that missed it, my in-laws hauled our family off to the “happiest place on earth” this past week. Seven people in one motor
coach for about 3 days. Oh, yeah!
This trip was a good time of family togetherness, enjoying the girls, and time “off the grid” with basically no internet, limited cell phone and very limited TV. The TV thing was an issue to start with. We arrived in Orlando only to hear of the massive storm crossing the south and we appeared to be in its path and with limited TV we had a difficult time keeping up with what might happen. Fortunately, we only got a small part of the heavy rain, a little thunder and wind – but nothing compared to those north of us.
So the trip was a good thing. That is, a good thing for most aspects of our lived, but a complete failure for me and my Lenten Fast. Have you ever tried to prepare a rice meal while driving 426 miles over 7-10 hours? There is no plug-in for an electric cooker, no practical way to light a gas cooker, no fast food place willing to heat it up — and trust me this Stop Hunger Now food is pretty good hot, but I just can’t do it cold.
SO — I had to break my fast on Monday for the trip down — FAIL. I got back on the meals for Tuesday
while we were in the campground. And then, Walt Disney security did not warm up to my little metal thermos I had planned on using to take my rice into the park — so no fast on Wednesday while in the park from 8:00 AM to 12:00 midnight. Too long to go without eating so again — FAIL. And then there was the trip back to Georgia, again — FAIL. Now the guys and I discussed this issue as we began this journey. We agreed that it was “the spirit of the journey” and not the “letter of the law.” That means that it is about the journey, the adventure, the experience more than whether we actually made it through without eating anything else. This was agreed on as none of us had any idea what our bodies would do with such a reduced food intake. And no one is served if we get ill, or have health issues from this experience. And to my amazement, I had the absolutely worst day I have had on this journey on the day I ate “regular” meals. Every time I got out of the car, or stood up from a seated position or kneeling position, I almost passed out. I got this overwhelming dizzy feeling and had a hard time keeping my feet. I felt lousy all day. And I ate! I had breakfast (bacon, egg & cheese biscuit), lunch (BLT on sour dough bread) and dinner (ham sandwich & PBJ). Far more calories than I have had since Ash Wednesday — and I had a really bad day. It happened to some extent while in the park — frequent bouts of dizziness, fatigue, light headedness, and a general feeling of blah. And yes, I drank plenty. In fact I had a marked increase in the frequency of my “stops” from all the liquid I drank.
So, in spite of my wishes, desires, intentions, and other goals — I have failed in my attempt to make it from Ash Wednesday to Easter living on nothing but the Stop Hunger Now meals. And I have to admit, that really bums me out. And it really feels like a failure to me. This has been something that has been very important to me. It has mattered that I remain faithful to the process. It has mattered that I follow this through all the way. It is a matter of personal integrity that I keep my end of the bargain to do this process for the 40 days of Lent. And that brings me to this: Lent is 40 days — not counting Sundays. Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus and is thus a Feast Day. We do not fast on Feast Days. For the most part, we have kept our fast on Sundays simply because going on and off the fast every 7 days would be difficult. So in a sense, I am keeping the Fast for the 40 days. I kept it for 28 days before I left, 1 day while I was gone, and will (hopefully) keep it the remaining 18 days for a total of 47 days.
But that doesn’t keep me from feeling like I failed. I know that I haven’t really — but it FEELS like it.
And while we were gone, my daughter and I had a few conversations about how our family time and recreation translated into meals. Her comment was: “Don’t tell me that! It makes me sad.” And I have to agree. If you think of how many Stop Hunger Meals we could package for the cost of some of the things involved with our trip — it boggles the mind, and makes you sad.
For instance, the purchase price for my park ticket was: $87.33 or 349 meals. For the children the cost of a ticket was: $78.81 or 315 meals. For the 7 of us that works out to $594.27 of 2,377 meals — for a day at the park.
Now, I don’t really think that God intends for us to abstain from all enjoyable experiences — but I do think that God expects us to be good stewards of our resources. After all, the first recorded miracle of Jesus was to make wine from water for a wedding celebration. Obviously, God approves of celebrations, family, and merry-making. But we also see Jesus make the ultimate sacrifice – giving his very life in order to save others. sometimes we are asked to sacrifice for others.
I won’t get into how other expenses translate into meals. That will come later or maybe not at all. But
you can figure out what it could have been. Let’s just say that we could have purchased a LOT of meals for what we spent.
And that brings us back to the whole purpose of this blog and journey — raising funds. Have you made a contribution to Stop Hunger Now yet? If not, when will you? What are you spending the financial resources God has given you on that you could abstain from, fast from, in order to feed hungry children?
Can we make a difference? Of course we can — one child, one meal, one-quarter at a time. Will you give today?
And don’t forget that Maguire’s is hosting Stop Hunger Now as their charity of the month in April. Every Tuesday there is a special that helps fund meals for Stop Hunger Now. Come down and meet Frank & Wendy and the crew and enjoy some Irish hospitality — and feed the children!
Until the next time….The Hog Father