I am coming to understand Lent and the practice of “fasting” in a new way. That first year, (5-6 years ago) it was a great help to me to fast from wine consumption and coffee. I had gotten into a rut- a cycle of drinking to alleviate feelings of unbearable burden, and then needing caffeine to be able to make it through the day- all the while “keeping up appearances”. Breaking the silence on that- at least to myself and a few others was important.
This year I am also abstaining from wine, mostly for health reasons, but also to support someone else. That, however, doesn’t seem to get at what’s being asked of me, or what my deepest, truest self is asking of me. Its not so much about self-denial or in that old, mostly useless, language, “mortification of the body”. I’m beginning to understand that Lent is an opportunity to let something go for a period of time (or forever?) in the hope that the letting go will change my relationship to it, perhaps, in the long run. AND that the space created by this absence will, hopefully, open up new space for relationship to G!d, and/or for what I am called to do in my life/in the world.
One of my first thoughts was to”fast” from white privilege. How does one give up privilege that is conferred upon one without ones’ consent? Is it really without my consent? Could I give up my consent? Since I’ll be attending the White Privilege Conference in April, perhaps it makes sense to examine this then, with the help of others.
My second thought was to fast from FB. I feel the resistance, even as I say this to you all. It seems that I do have some addictive energy here! But, but… I’ll miss important things my friends are sharing… if I don’t respond, they won’t like me anymore!… and people are so appreciative of my farm posts; I really don’t want to disappoint!… and so it goes, 4 days into Lent and I am still waffling… I do, however, feel “convicted” as the early Quakers used to say. It is perfectly clear to me that the amount of time I spend on FB has nothing to do with maintaining closeness with G!d, or with fulfilling my calling, such as it is. It is also clear to me that this would be a good experiment- even if I fail at it some of the time.
So here goes: for the rest of Lent I will fast from FB. I will start by turning the FB notifications on my iPhone.