Last night I heard one lady saying that fasting began “In the Beginning…” as it were, when Adam and Eve were told to fast from this one thing, this one fruit. Because of their disobedience, humans have been fasting ever since.
We fast, not just because the church fathers fasted, not just because the apostles fasted, but because we have a Semitic heritage and fasting is part of that heritage.
None of those are my thoughts, but I am thinking about them still today. A non-fasting friend said something like “Fasting, ugggh,” and I said that it was not so different from what she is doing, on her modified paleo diet. She is giving up certain foods for a time (perhaps for life, that remains to be seen) and we give up certain things for a time. We give up meat and dairy, fish, wine and oil for a time. In this way, we eat much as they would in the Garden of Eden, when the diet was vegetarian. It is not so very different. Why is it that it seems so much more logical to eat nothing but grapefruit for a week for our waistlines than it does to go without meat and dairy for our souls? That’s a question I am asking myself, for I find this fasting period a time of reworking my pre-conceived notions of what it means to fast and what the benefits are. It is also, for me, an exercise in humility and trust, in that those who have gone before may have understood something by doing it that I do not understand simply by studying it and reasoning about it.
There is something learned in the doing of something, don’t you know. I can read all I want to about crocheting, or painting, or exercise, but until I actually begin to do those things, I don’t truly understand, for the doing is an explanation without words. There is something in this that informs me in a way that isn’t simply intellectual. And that’s fast-inating.