In January our Pastor called for a fast. I chose a meat fast; which on the surface seemed easy, but in reality kicked my proverbial behind. Whenever a person fasts for spiritual reasons life has a way of doing two things: 1.Showing the person things they need to work on and 2. helping them break through a problem and get it resolved.
Unbeknown to me I was going to learn all the bad things about myself. Now if my husband or children would have shared these little truths with me I could have gotten defensive, self righteous and all that good stuff. No, I had to go and do something and after doing it a voice in my heart would say…”gee that is rather controlling,” or “you should have said that with a more loving tone.” Then it would sink deeper into my stomach as I felt myself wanting to shrink into the furniture.
Now we know from prior writings that my fat talks to me. Well it was not pleased with the sudden decrease in consumption of (of all things) bacon and fried chicken. Here I am trying to be more sophisticated and the country (as my dad likes to say, because he didn’t raise me ghetto) comes out. On Sundays people would talk about the great things happening in their lives. The wannabe holy Trish could only cry about the loss of a longtime love in her life…bacon.
Overachievers have to talk themselves into quitting. That’s why they’re overachievers, by the time they decide to quit, the job is done. My fat was helping the it’s time to quit the fast conversation when the strangest thing happened. Actually anybody that knows my neighborhood would say strange is the norm where we live.
We have a high population of homeless people. My children saw their first lady of the evening coming home from the local grocery store. I think we are the meth mecca too. All this bad stuff and nobody moves, because the houses are nice and we live on a mountain.
We probably have a high homeless population because people like me do things like feed them when they ask for money. I’ll take them to McDonalds or KFC and sit down and have a meal with them. The only stipulation is they know that God put it in my heart to help them-so they gotta understand that God does care about them. The way I wrote it is how I say it and they’re cool with it. Then when I get home I pray like I’m their mama for them.
Back to the story-I’m getting ready to give up on the fast. I go to the post office to mail some packages and one of my regulars is there. I am mentally preparing myself for the conversation and the meal that we’ll share afterwards. What happened next is the reason why I fast.
This woman who had been a lady of the evening for years approached me and said, “I want you to know that I know you have been praying for me.” gulp. Everybody in the post office turned around. She continued “and I am here to tell you that your prayers have been answered.” I was so not ready for that! She went on to explain that she was off the streets, drug free and had a home, clothes and a computer.
At this point I’m feeling bad for thinking about quitting the fast. Dang another Trish you suck moment. How many more of these am I gonna face? The bible has a verse about confessing sins so I did. I thanked her for sharing that and told her how I was fasting and having a hard time with it. She did a me…she said, “God sent me here to tell you to keep on fasting and praying, because he hears your prayers.” I am dumbstruck. A lady in the line starts crying and the moment ended as soon as it began.
As I left the post office I saw the lady sitting down next to a homeless person and talking to him like I used to talk to her. They were just talking about whatever. I smiled and had what I needed to finish the fast. I’d like to say I was a little holier, but that wouldn’t be me. What I can say is I let go of alot of those less than attractive attributes my heart revealed. And, I learned to like the less than sophisticated things about myself-because even though they may not be cool by Hollywood standards they are what makes me-me. And this story has another happy ending-the day my fast ended someone at the church gave me 3 pounds of bacon. You gotta love that kind of happy ending.