Thoughts on Fasting, Abundance and Gratitude

by Mary Ann on August 13, 2014

3 Days for Yazidi – A Fast For Deliverance

My daughter is constantly doing something remarkable. If you haven’t seen her latest endeavor you can visit her website, created just for this gift she wants to give to people she has never met. She asked us all, her friends and family to fast for three days for the people in Iraq who are stranded on a mountain, dying.

We have all been so bothered by what is happening and in times like these there is the feeling of powerlessness, after all what can one do thousands of miles away. That has never deterred my daughter from coming up with a plan.

Families throwing children from a mountain to keep them from terrorists.

When people were freezing in Turkey she had everyone she knew makes quilts and then got a cargo ship to take them to Turkey. Once she fasted all treats for a whole year on behalf of some people who needed some major blessings. I try to keep up with her.

I am familiar with fasting. I have been using this tool, along with prayer, for my whole life. I usually fast once a month for health and spiritual reasons but I have done other types of fasts. Once I fasted every Saturday for almost a year for a blessing I needed. So, as I said, I am familiar with fasting and find it very doable.

However, this fast has taught me some things. I know there is a scripture which admonishes us not to let our right had know what our left hand is doing and so that does give me pause. Nevertheless, I feel that what I have learned is worth sharing.

True to my nature I decided to fast all three days in one big fast rather than splitting it up into three, one-day fasts. When I fast I pray about whatever it is I am fasting about. I have to remind myself about this so that my fast is effective. This time was different.

On the first day the temperature was 94 degrees. I was doing physical labor. I was sweating and periodically I would wet my tongue with my hand under the faucet. Whenever I did that I was reminded that the families I was fasting for had no water to do that.

A couple of times I sucked on a breath mint so I could keep my mouth moist and stand myself and so others could stand me. I was

Children on the mountain top

Children on the mountain top

reminded again that these families have no such relief.

When I got home that night, before bed, I took my usual wonderful shower. As the lovely water ran over my hot head I realized that for these families there would be no relief from a hot day, hard work, or fatigue. How do you clean an infant without water? When I brushed my teeth I knew that they lacked that luxury.

Today, the second day, I woke up to rain. The air felt so sweet and cool. It was wonderful. I realized that these families would have no rain, no sweetness, no coolness.

It was harder to go without food and water today. But in the back of my mind I knew that anytime I wanted to I could quit and take a drink or eat some bread. In these families minds they know that their children are dying from dehydration, there is little to no food and there is no quitting and no relief.

When my 4 year old granddaughter came down for a hug I asked her how her fast was going (TV and Ipad). She said it was good and flashed a big smile. Then as she walked away she turned and said, “But I am a little sad.” She is learning some great lessons.

Last night at 11:00 I realized that while we were gone to Alaska for a holiday our home was flooded. It had rained a lot and the rain spout was working poorly. When I finally walked  barefoot on the carpet next to my desk I figured it out (I rarely go barefoot).

By my desk and under it are 14 boxes of family history all sorted and labeled, ready to be worked on and put into books this winter. FloodEvery box was filled with wet documents, photos and papers. They had been wet for over two weeks and there was a lot of mold. It was a huge disaster. I went to bed and cried.

Today was spent emptying each box and drying out what could be saved and then re-boxing it. Then all the furniture was pushed into the center of the room so that the carpet could be pulled up, sprayed with bleach and dried.

I got up early this morning and began the job but had to leave for work and Jodie and my husband kept at it on and off all day, as things dried and space became available.

When I got home I was tired, hungry and thirsty. When I walked into my home a wretched sight met my eyes and nose. You can see by the pictures what a mess it was. I just let go. I closed my fast, drank some water, and ate a roll so that I could roll up my sleeves, empty the rest of the boxes and get ready to move furniture.

Yes, I quit my fast. I just needed the energy and comfort from a glass of water and a roll so that I could handle the disaster all around me.

As I ate the roll and drank the water I thought about what it would be like to have crying and hungry, thirsty children that youFotor0813232837 had no food or water for.  What it would be like to be in the baking heat with little shelter and no relief in sight. What it would be like to hear bombs dropping. For these families there is no quitting or taking a break to regroup. There is no glass of cool water and a roll to give them energy to face the disaster they find themselves in.

I have a firm belief that everything do for another person blesses our own lives in some way. Today and yesterday I have been blessed. As I fast I am always grateful for food and water. Today I was more than just grateful. I realized that it isn’t just a full belly or hydrated body that I am blessed with. I can take a shower anytime. I can go to sleep in peace. I can get away from the heat. I can comfort my children and make sure they have these same things.

I have often wondered why it is I was born in America, in such a good circumstance. I have thought a lot about what our burden is compared to those in places like war torn Iraq. I believe it is our abundance. This is what this fast has confirmed so forcefully to my mind. It is harder to be grateful when one is surrounded by so much choice and abundance. It is hard to be grateful when things aren’t the way we want them to be. Sometimes we focus on the things we lack when we are really swimming in abundance.

My home did not burn down, didn’t flood completely, most items can be repaired in some way, it didn’t sit another week until everything was moldy….I have many things to be grateful for today!

Today and yesterday I was reminded almost hourly how truly abundant my life is and I have been so glad to be able to do some small thing for those who are not so privileged. I will complete the last day tomorrow. Why not join our family and let your family be reminded again about their abundance.

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