A Place at the Table: Days 36-37

Thursday – Mid-afternoon I got hungry. It was nothing like what happened Wednesday evening, but I was hungry enough that, if I wasn’t fasting, I’d have found something to eat.  Instead of having to fight it, though, I pushed through it without a second thought. It was really neat.  My mind registered that I was hungry, made note of it, and moved on without protest or fanfare.  It was sort of like fasting “muscle memory” kicking in.

Friday – Today I got sick (some sort of flu-like thing).  I spent about half the day in bed.  The thought crossed my mind that this thing (whatever it was) was a good excuse to break my fast, if I wanted to.  I decided to stick with it, however.  It doesn’t take too much energy or stamina to make a pb&banana sandwich.  I wished my stir-fry was already made when I forced myself into the kitchen to make it, but standing over the steaming skillet turned out to be good for the sinuses.  I threw in some cayenne pepper and that really helped open things up – at least temporarily.  The one liberty I took was a very small bowl of cereal I ate around 4:30/5:00pm – almost dinner time.  The church preschool’s Easter program was at 6:00pm and it is customary for the pastor to participate.  An extra motivation this year was that my daughters were in the program.  I was trying to get myself pulled together enough to be there and I needed to take some medicine, for which I needed something on my stomach.  So, I ate what amounted to three or four spoonfuls of rice Chex. As I chewed, it dawned on me that here was yet another example of how poverty interferes with something I take for granted.  How many times in life have I grabbed a snack in order to take an aspirin or some other form of medicine because that’s what the directions say to do?  I read it, eat it, take it, and then go – without giving it a second thought.  But if you’re poor and have to wait until later in the day – or even until the next day – to eat, what do you do?  Do you skip the medicine you need?  Or do you chance upsetting your stomach (or even risk ulcers)?

Lord, thank you for once again giving me a peek into the darkness in which others live.  Shine your light in that darkness. Amen.

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