It is one of the first thoughts as my eyes blink their way into the morning light, as my body stretches taut and I yawn, expanding every cubic inch of bronchial space. “What day is it?” I wonder, which also means, “What can I make for breakfast?” My belly rumbles at the thought of buttered toast, coffee with heavy cream, eggs over easy, the yolks running vibrant yellow ochre. My brain settles the calculation, and oh, it’s Wednesday. That means black coffee, peanut butter toast, no eggs, no yellow ochre pooling in the plate.
I didn’t grow up this way, and it doesn’t come naturally to any of us to limit our consumption of certain foods as a part of our spiritual discipline. I’m a very bumbling beginner, often failing to plan enough in advance to have a fasting-friendly meal ready for my large family. I keep trying to remind myself to just keep getting a little better, week by week, each Wednesday and Friday and during the other extended fasts of the church calendar, not missing the forest for the trees. Keep picking up the rhythm of soaking beans on Tuesday night, of keeping coconut cream around to make the coffee less harsh, of finding recipes that give us a good protein boost that can be assembled quickly during sports seasons. I am just beginning to get the mechanics right, and have far to go to fast well, physically and spiritually, to fast from envy, from sloth, from all that hinders growth in Christ.
My small offerings feel like handing bouquets of dandelions to a king, small bundles of yellow ochre. I can only offer these little, imperfect sacrifices to the One who offers me Himself. It’s humbling in the extreme to struggle to even give up my dandelions, the small comforts of foods I love. The cream in my coffee and the eggs on my plate, running into pools of yellow ochre.