My church’s community fast ended yesterday. In preparation for the end, we had a Testimony Night on Friday night, which gave time for the people who wanted to share their experiences during the fast to do so. We really had no idea how many people would share or what they would share. The event ended up lasting about three hours and consisted of tears, praises, hope, and perseverance in the forms of raps, impromptu speeches, and even a spoken word – but what characterized each bit of storytelling was vulnerability. Person after person who stepped up to the microphone prefaced their stories with something like, “I’m not the kind of person to talk in front of a crowd,” “I’m so nervous,” and “I’ve never shared this before.” It was very messy, very raw, very unorchestrated, and very beautiful. It would have been so easy for me to detach and give way to cynicism, but I held on to paying attention because I just couldn’t let go of the idea that maybe this is what community is: the messy, the raw, the unorchestrated, and this is beautiful, this is what I want to abide in. So I listened, and I kept listening, and when I walked out to my car that night after the storytelling had died down, I felt lighter and probably even had a little grin on my face. I hadn’t experienced anything earthshattering, but I had experienced what it is to rejoice with and grieve with community. That grit is what I’ve been after, and I’m oh so glad I’m starting to grasp it just a little bit.
As for me, I haven’t tied up all the loose ends of my own experiences during the fast just yet. What I do know is that I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about strength, weakness, bravery, and courage. And, on another note, I have found that prayer is powerful and effective, my prayers too! Because I get very easily distracted and am not a very focused pray-er, I have never felt like a person that someone else should rely on for effective prayer. But through a series of events, I am learning that all it is is prayer, just prayer, that is powerful and effective, not anyone’s prayers in particular. Which means that your prayers, her prayers, his prayers, MY prayers are all equally powerful and effective! I’m excited.
I participated in a no meat fast this month, and after breaking the fast with some meat during each meal yesterday, I’ve decided to enter back into my previous vegetarian lifestyle. My body feels so much better (lighter and healthier) when I’m eating vegetarian, and my conscience feels lighter too (watch Food Inc., and you’ll get the gist). So, here’s to a life of leafy greens, prayer, and community! Honestly, it couldn’t get much better than that.
January 26 Joy Dare: A Gift Before Dawn, At Noon, After Dark
Before Dawn: Sleep
At Noon: Chipotle + Starbucks
After Dark: Pickles at the movies with a friend
January 27 Joy Dare: 3 Gifts in the Kitchen
1. Breakfast sandwich
2. Surprise mozzarella sticks
3. Free dinner bought by a friend
January 28 Joy Dare: 3 Graces Found in Friends
1. Friends who cook! (Kelly)
2. Friends who leave, come back, and leave again, yet it’s like they’ve never left (Renée)
3. Friends who will stay up too late with you and die laughing about the smallest things (Phoebe – #EnglishMajorProblems, really)