Feeling Hungry

I’m just 2 full days into our 5 day Solidarity with the Hungry week where our congregation is voluntarily limiting our food consumption to three very small and bland meals a day with no snacks. I’ve also added for myself a fast on Diet Coke, which may just be harder than the missed food! But with only two days down and three to go, I already have already experienced some “Aha” moments in identifying with the extreme poor.

One evening as I was putting our small portions of rice and pieces of chicken into bowls, I thought about how much meat to give each person in our family of 4. Then I imagined a mom who every day has to divide up such meager portions – usually with little or no meat – and decide whether to distribute the food evenly, give the older people more, or sacrifice some of her own. These are excruciating decisions I never have to make.

I’ve also noticed how limited my energy is throughout the day with so little protein and overall calories. It’s harder to do my work, and my work is not physically challenging. I can’t imagine walking a mile or more with a huge jug on my back to get decent water, or working on a garden in oppressive heat when the body lacks energy.

Our family is already talking about what we look forward to eating on Saturday when the fast is over. But as my husband reminded me, the extreme poor never get a break from bland eating and hunger pangs. This is their life, every single day, just enough to survive, no promise of a treat around the corner.
I hope my daughters are experiencing some of these “Aha” moments in the midst of their complaints. This is a memory that can serve us well if we pay attention. When I think of how hungry I feel, I try to offer up a prayer for those who are hungry on a relentless basis. This has been good for my soul…

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