I’ve been spending quite a bit of time thinking about Lent this past week. After learning last year that even attempting to fast while nursing is a very, very bad idea (let’s just call Ash Wednesday ‘09 a little disaster in our cabin and leave it at that) I’ve been giving a lot of thought about how to prepare for Holy Week.
Fasting actually seems to be out for the indefinite future. Last year I was nursing. The year before I was pregnant. And this year, as many of you know, I am both nursing and pregnant (I see a pattern beginning to develop here). After being a vegetarian for ten years (from the ages of 10 to 20, roughly) giving up meat for Friday’s won’t even be particularly difficult.
Actually the last time that I really tried to fast was in September/October of 2007. We were preparing for our trip to the holy land and had been reading a lot about fasting. Paul and I had been particularly inspired by a young couple who fasted for forty days before their wedding (we’re talking about two small meals and one normal sized meal a day in this case) and thought it would be a wonderful way to prepare for our journey to Israel and the West Bank.
I didn’t last forty days. After a couple of weeks of faintness and dizzy spells Paul said that he didn’t think I was physically capable of fasting (for long at least). When the nausea started a couple of weeks later we learned that it was actually something else altogether. I was expecting.
The more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve begun to think that the discomforts of pregnancy (particularly in the first and third trimesters) are a fairly equal trade when compared with the discomforts of fasting (although I guess they don’t really involve self control, because you don’t really have a choice about running into the kitchen and breaking your fast with the whole pregnancy thing).
Unfortunately, in my case (both times) the second trimester has matched up perfectly with Lent, so I am entering into that joyful time when I feel like I could be pregnant forever.
So I’m looking for alternatives (I really appreciated the discussion about this on CAF! It makes sense with all the nursing/pregnant Catholic moms out there I wouldn’t be the only one giving this some thought). I’m leaning towards the suggestion of completely cutting out junk food as one mom suggested.
With my recent powerful cookie cravings that could be a real test of self-control in the coming weeks.
And to keep this post from becoming too long, I’ll call it a night for now. While I love Advent and the Christmas season, Lent gives me so much to think about…
Ramblings on prayer coming soon…