Last night I was laying in bed winding down from the day, with my eyes half-focused on whatever John happened to be watching on the television: Oh. Lovely. The Food Channel.
After assuring him that it truly wasn’t making me hungry to have it on, I pulled myself out of my sleepiness to really pay attention to how people were talking about, and treating the food that they ate. I noticed a few things.
- The high value placed on large servings of unhealthy food was notable. Program after program seemed to verify that being a “foodie” (which could be perhaps described as one who lives to eat, rather than eats to live) was a worthwhile hobby.
- Man vs. Food happened to be the program of choice last night. And as I watched the host make himself miserable by trying to cram x-number of exorbitantly HOT battered chicken wings in his mouth in under 7 minutes, I realized that having the luxury to treat food as a toy or game makes us unique compared to many.
- The past 5 days I’ve been conscious of the amount of rice grains wasted when they inevitably stick to the bottom of the rice cooker. I don’t let a lentil in my watery broth escape my attentive spoon. And it has made me all the more grateful for the food that I have been given that day.
- I expected to feel angry as I watched. But I didn’t. I felt rather pity my culture’s coarsening of something so sacred as our own relationship with food.
- But I more deeply understand the understandable anger of many people in the world who see our television programming and can’t believe we could think so little of them and their children’s well-being, that we would use mass quantities of food to create yet another form of competition in the world—one that was as wasteful and death-dealing to us as it is to them.
My body is telling me “enough” for now. The weakness and fatigue has become cumulative enough that it’s beginning to limit too much. I’m going to have apple in my oatmeal for breakfast. But the value of these 5 days of what has felt like a special kind of “fast” has softened my heart and eyes greatly. I feel a closer prayer connection to my refugee sisters in Jordan more deeply than ever, of course. I will continue to support them monthly with my donation to Church World Service.
Thanks for listening in to my reflections this week. I love that each of us has a cause or group that we feel called to support; so if yours isn’t refugees, that’s okay. Enjoy the work that God has called you to in serving where “your deep joy meets the world’s deep need,” as Frederick Buechner says. Peace.