Ok, not so fast.
-Look, the pun was unintentional this time, ok?-
This post is intended to look at the physical effects of our week-long fast. My next post will be about my spiritual thoughts on the fast.
I guess I was a bit premature with the kidney pain. Sunday before church I was feeling them pretty keenly. I often allow myself to dehydrate a bit on Sunday mornings so I don’t have really uncomfortable urges during church. I guess this time it wasn’t such a good idea. I drank extra water just before the service started, and during the service I intermittently drank a juice cocktail from a thermos we often take with us. (This thermos is great, by the way. The ones we got are for cold only, and have a locking lid so it will not spill, and it keeps liquids cold for hours, even in brutal heat.) By afternoon, they were manageable and I thought I was ok. However, by bedtime, my kidneys were really ramping up the pain, even though I had three glasses of water just before bedtime. I finally got up and migrated to the living room and crashed on the sofa. I didn’t get much sleep Sunday night, but it did give me cause to pray a lot. Not just for the pain, in case that was implied. I did pray for outside concerns, so I guess the time wasn’t really wasted.
Monday night was pretty much the same. The pain wasn’t as intense, but really uncomfortable, so I got up earlier than I had on Sunday and went to the spare room. I think Beth and I both slept better than the night before, as I wasn’t tossing and turning for a few hours before I decided to sleep elsewhere. I woke up a couple of hours before it was time to get up, and the pain was lessened, so I was able to crawl back into bed with my wife for a couple of hours.
Unfortunately, I am prone to kidney stones. Normally I drink a ton of water, in fact I figured it out one time, and on an average day I drink close to one hundred ounces of water. So I’m not unaccustomed to kidney pain, and I do what I can to minimize the probability. I guess I goofed up a little with the fast. Saturday and Sunday we added fruit and vegetable juices to the water which constituted our entire diet on Friday. I drank a ton of tomato juice and fruit juices, but I think in retrospect I substituted them for the water that I normally drink. I probably figured that liquid is liquid, so I skimped on the water. Small tactical error, there, and I paid a bit of a penalty for it. Last night was not so bad, so hopefully we’re on the downhill side of that particular issue.
The hunger has been interesting. Not unmanageable, but consistently present. Believe me, that tomato juice on Saturday was like heaven. I totally loved the juices we had on Saturday and Sunday after only water the day before. And then came Sunday evening.
The “fasting days” go from 6:00 PM on one day to 6:00 PM the next day. Sunday evening at 6:00 PM we had our first solid food since Thursday. Now that was heaven. Understand, I am not a veggie kind of guy, but after three days of nothing at all, Sunday dinner was a feast! Beth fixed lentil soup (no bacon, but I got over it) and a veggie tray. Homemade hummus and peanut butter with crackers and apples finished off the meal. Heaven! Monday night Beth sautéed some mushrooms and onions, fixed home fries in olive oil and herbs, and some sort of bean salad. Man! I tore into that like a starving dog on a t-bone steak. Not being a veggie kind of guy, the irony of the situation hit me about half-way through the meal. I looked at Beth and said, “What is happening to me??? I’m scared!!” But I gotta tell you, that moment didn’t stop me for long. Last night was ratatouille. What a great meal! In fact, during supper we talked, and I remarked that I wouldn’t mind “meatless meals” a couple of times a week. This is a bit disconcerting to an unrepentant and avowed carnivore, so I’m in uncharted territory here.
Coffee I miss. I love the flavor, the smell, I love everything about a good cup of joe. But even with that I noticed that I don’t mind not having that first cup of steaming goodness when I roll out of bed. I need to evaluate that as well. Cut back and drink less? Mix a higher percentage of decaf? Just not sure what to do here.
I also miss my beer and cigars. I don’t slug down a ton of brews at a time, but with certain meals and evenings, a cold one is very nice. And the cigars! I only have one now and then, but the past few days have been mostly desire.
But, once again, the fast has included these things, and all in all I have been very pleased with this fast. As I expected, the first few days were difficult, but relatively smooth sailing after that initial time period. We have today and tomorrow, with tomorrow evening being the breaking of the fast. I have to admit, I am really, really looking forward to tasting the “good stuff” again. But until then, I am devoting this time to God, and praying. A lot.
The next post will look at the spiritual thoughts and lessons throughout this week.