A Place at the Table: Day 2

Friday – I started off the day again with just coffee. This was partly by choice and partly by necessity.  I overslept, so I was pressed for time and couldn’t give too much thought to what to eat.  So I drank my coffee and left it at that.

Another consequence of ignoring my wake-up alarm was that I did not have time to prepare a lunch. I thought briefly about foregoing that meal, too, but around 12:15  I had to have something to eat.  McDonald’s seemed the most affordable option, and it was close by.  We had received a packet of Mickey D’s coupons in the mail earlier in the week and my lovely wife had the forethought to push them into my pocket as I was on my way out the door.  Flipping through them, I found one for a BigMac or a Quarterpounder for $2.  Perfect!   At the drive-thru window I opted for the BigMac – not because I preferred it, necessarily, but because it looked like more food.  Sales tax brought my total to $2.12 – two cents under my daily allowance for breakfast and lunch.

As I sat in my car and ate my burger, I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I had ordered a BigMac.  It’s been a decade if it’s been a year.  The sandwich was better than I remembered it – and I savored every bite.  Not a scrap of lettuce or a dab of that special sauce went in the trash.  When I finished, I was truly thankful for that meal.  And that’s really the point of fasting – to become more grateful for what we have by limiting what we consume.  I know full well that I had just eaten the nutritional equivalent of an IED: an unsuspecting digestive bomb packed with fat, sodium, and additives encased within a heavily processed sesame seed bun.  Access to affordable, nutritious food is a serious issue in our society – and one that needs to be addressed.  But today it’s what I could afford, and I was filled with gratitude for it – without having to think about it too long or too hard, because the alternative was to have had nothing at all.

The day ended with a tinge of disappointment.  When I stopped by the church to pick up my daughters from preschool, I got to wondering about how much my morning cup of coffee cost.  I had some ground coffee in my office, so I got the postage scale out of the copy room, put a coffee filter on top of it, and measured out four scoops of coffee – what I had used to brew my morning pot.  The scale showed that four scoops of coffee weighed one ounce.  The coffee from home came out of a twelve ounce bag, which my wife had scored on clearance for around $6.  That means I had brewed approximately fifty cents worth of coffee this morning, about half of which served as my breakfast.  And (to my chagrin) that means I actually went over my food allowance for the day by about a quarter.  I’ll deduct that from my $14.98 budget when I go shopping later; it just underscores how challenging this fast is going to be.  Planning things out is going to be essential.

In terms of how I felt, the biggest difference from yesterday is that I seemed to have more energy; but when I got hungry, the hunger was more intense.

Thank you, Lord, for being my good shepherd.  See me through this journey. Teach me patience and what it means to be truly grateful.

And thank you for water fountains.  Without them, I would not have anything to drink for most of the day.  Amen.

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