Lenten Fail

I have to be honest. My plan to seek solidarity with the hungry was  complete failure.

First, I found myself thinking about food all the time. Usually I cook dinner and pack the leftovers for lunch, then grab something from the fridge or the cupboard for breakfast. Instead, I found myself considering what I was going to eat when I got home, what I would eat for breakfast.

I suppose in a weird way I was reminded what it’s like to worry about food.  However, becoming obsessed wasn’t a healthy mindset.

Second, I gained weight. Oh, not a lot, but enough to make my second-skin jeans a little too corsetty.  The problem? I started dipping into the canned goods on my “emergency” shelf and, frankly, they’re too big for one person.  170 grams (6 ounces) of salmon is plenty for me to enjoy over two meals, but I found myself making huge portions courtesy of family-of-four cans.

I felt ashamed that I wasn’t strong enough to follow the plan.  Do you see where this is going? After reflection, I realized my pride had been wounded; I wanted to “win” the game I’d set for myself. In other words, I did the exact opposite of what I intended for Lent: think less about me and seek to understand others.

I was reminded of something from the Gospel, and after a search I found it: St. Paul writing to the Romans.  He wrote about himself,  “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. ” (Romans 7:15 – emphasis mine)  He couldn’t carry out his good intentions, either.

So I surrendered, or hit the “reset” button. I boxed up the “emergency” cans and most of the noodles, then took them to the parish food bank.

During power outage, I lost nearly everything in the refrigerator either due to thawing or rapid mold growth. I didn’t rush out to fill the void, but I didn’t fret about the cost when I bought fresh food.