This past Friday was the first of my First Friday Fasts. The night before, I put aside some time for some prayer and meditation. It was a good way to help me get in the right mindset for my fast.
The next day, I woke up unusually early and figured that sleeping in during my fast wouldn’t be the best use of my time. I spent the day studying, running, and whenever the mood hit, I would think about the world, its people and God. Friday was a particularly good day for this because I found out that morning that two of my friends have relatives going through major health problems at the hospital. Rather than just having a general prayer for the world, I was also able to think of specific people in mind at the same time, which I believe helped me more than I helped them.
During my prayers, I thought of how millions of people around the world go through unbearable hunger and that this was a way of holding out my hand to them and sharing in their experience. I was also humbled by the thought that for me, this was strictly voluntary and would only last for a day. Unfortunately, they do not have the same choice.
I also thought of the importance of sacrifice and discipline. I read somewhere that while people think that suppressing one’s sexual desire is the hardest thing to do, it is actually the desire to eat that can prove to be the greatest challenge. The reason for this is that unlike one’s sex drive, whose onset is around the teen years, the drive to eat has always been there from birth. Learning discipline and sacrifice, I believe, is essential to gaining humility. Understanding that the only right one has is the right to live is a product of discipline, sacrifice and humility.
The last thought I had was one that came as a surprise. Around late afternoon, when the pangs of hunger were at their greatest, I suddenly realized that this body will give up. With no nourishment, it will die and the only real strength I have is one in spirit. I quickly became aware of one of the greatest aspects of what I’m doing: fasting will reveal the truths in me and about the world.
I can’t wait until next month!