In the end, I didn't stop, hanging on to the Ordinary for just a bit longer.
Today I am fasting, still bound by the obligation for a (very) few years yet. Until recently, the Lenten fasts were not a hardship, more a matter of forgoing my after dinner snack than anything else. But last Lent, and this summer, when Pope Francis asked the Church to fast for peace in Syria, for the first time I found the practice challenging. I got a headache, I was crabby. I was distracted. I was hungry.
Today was no different. By four, working off just a yogurt, some dried fruit and two solidly sweet cups of tea, I had a headache, I was crabby, I was thoroughly distracted. And I was sitting through a longish academic talk about food insecurity, while the people on either side of me munched cookies and chips (snacks for the talk).
I tend to think of hunger in spiritual terms, as something that sharpens my appetite for God, something that strips away excess. But most people, including almost one quarter of all the children in America, do not have the luxury of electing hunger as a spiritual practice. They are simply hungry. In the midst of one of the richest nations on earth, children go hungry. Here in Philadelphia, children go hungry. Here, in my town, people are hungry tonight. Not because they are electing to fast, but because we have elected to let them go hungry. It is unconscionable.