A Slow Fast

On the most sacred day of the year for Jews, we are supposed to fast. Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement is the holiest day of the year. We ask God to inscribe us in the Book of Life for the coming year.

Fasting for Yom Kippur 
No food from sundown to sundown.  I think I have fasted almost every year since I was old enough to realize what a valuable gift it is to go without food and to sit quietly asking for forgiveness. Every time I fast, I think I gain even greater appreciation for how much I enjoy food- but the more important lesson is just the acknowledgement and gratitude for all the grace and love in my life. Being hungry feeds the soul.

Over the last year, I have been trying to eat less and avoid eating lunch. I do bring lots of healthy food to work like a banana, apple and almonds so it isn’t as if I am starving myself. But I work in a very small town East of Raleigh and the choices for lunch are bad and worse.

The town is called Zebulon or as I like to refer to it: Planet Zebulon. 

Zebulon, North Carolina
"town of friendly people" 
It’s a quiet community that has a few large companies like GSK and the company I work for called Nomacorc.  I have been curious about the origins of the name so I went to Wikipedia and learned that Zebulon Baird Vance  (May 13, 1830 – April 14, 1894) was a Confederate military officer in the American Civil War, the 37th and 43rd Governor of North Carolina, and U.S. Senator. I wondered if Zeb, as I imagine he was called, knew any Jews or ate stuffed cabbage in his lifetime?  I wonder if he ever ate at a Subway too? 

Zebulon Baird Vance
(May 13, 1830 – April 14, 1894) 
Zebulon, North Carolina is a friendly town; in fact it is "the town of friendly people' as you can see from their motto on their welcome sign. But it isn’t really a food friendly town. The big excitement in the last two years, from a food perspective, was the opening of a new Subway within the new Walmart. Oh they have Arby’s Pizza Hut, Bojangles and of course Mickie D’s. They have two local restaurants: Fargos that has a portrait of John Wayne hanging in the old west themed dining room and another place called McLean’s that is like an imitation of Cracker Barrel. It isn’t that the food is bad but it is just a very weak set of options to someone who is roasting beets with fresh rosemary while I type.

So not eating for 24 hours isn’t quite as difficult as it has been in the past but partly because I have been training for this by not eating lunch during the work week. Given the choices around work, I usually opt for a short drive, to take a walk or to listen to music to break up the day.

Fasting and feeling hungry is a strange and odd sensation. Most of us could stand to lose a few pounds so it isn’t as if we are going to shrivel up and disappear if we don’t eat for a day. In fact, I think the greatest craving for me is my morning coffee more than any food. By praying and asking for forgiveness during this day, it helps me remember to be present and realize that life is wonderful. 

A slow fast is a good thing and probably something I should try and do more than once each year. It is remarkably nourishing. 

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