I’m quite certain the reason we are given multiple opportunities to learn the lessons we need in order to grow is because we are slow learners. I heard it explained that it takes six times of being told a single thought before hearing it once and, in similar progression, it takes having done a specific task fifteen times to have garnered it as a skill. I add to the list of slow learning processes the attitude of fasting.
I’ve been a member of the Church for quite a while and the first Sunday of each month is set aside for fasting; I’ve known this all the while. I’ve heard plenty of talks on fasting, read articles about fasting by members of the First Presidency and over the years thought I understood a little more; enough to get past the first Sunday without missing a couple of meals.
I’m working on twenty nine years of membership and it might be a while longer before I understand the meaning of the fast; but I’m making progress, slow as I might be. Every now and again I catch a glimpse of the spiritual, the true meaning of the fast.
Last night Lucy and I went to the Outback Steakhouse for our “date night” and during the meal we reminded each other, “tomorrow is Fast Sunday”; all the while enjoying steaks cooked to near perfection along with a baked potato that I consider equal to any desert offered on the menu. I had not really entered into the “attitude of fasting” as we continued our date at the shopping mall.
This morning instead of eating my bowl of oatmeal, a required ritual more than a culinary event, I was reading very personal articles on the internet, blog articles which touched my spirit. One posting in particular touched me to the center of my soul as the writer, a friend only through the invention of the internet, expressed the advent of an anniversary, one which marked the death of her children in a car crash. I recognized my desire to take some of her pain and anguish and have that pain or anguish replaced with peace as can only be obtained when it is given away. This is the purpose of the Gospel, to learn how to move on, not without memories of such events; but to let go of the pain and anguish associated with them and to be at peace within.
It occurred to me, “It’s been all morning and I haven’t eaten”, I was without thought regarding my normal ingestion of substance; instead I was listening to the Spirit instruct me on more important issues. I could do this more often, next month I’ll be more prepared and listen more intently for the promptings of the Spirit.
I had the thought; I do that once in a great while, the thought of how neat it would be to go through an entire Sunday in the attitude of fasting, not just a few minutes or an hour. What would it be like to be surrounded spiritually the entire day, taking in the feelings associated with that higher plain as an open conduit touched my soul? I hope to enjoy such a day; Lucy’s baking a batch of brownies and, as much as that feeling of spirituality is important, the aroma of brownies in the oven has overtaken the spirit.