Had “lunch” today with an 87 year old dear friend of mine. We’ve been friends for well over 20 years and get together for lunch about monthly. We were scheduled to get together last Wednesday but I was only 3 days into my liquids only fast (about 400/cal/day) and I didn’t want to push my resolve too far. Today, when my office manager told him I was still not eating, he wanted to cancel. But I insisted we get together. He’s very aware of world affairs, Jewish, and connected in the world. He and friends at the retirement home where he lives sponsor children through the Itafari Foundation which I co-founded. (Imagine: Jewish elders in our community helping children of a genocide – they get it).
But his fear was for my health. And also he feared it wouldn’t make a difference. Fair concerns. The eating one is not difficult. As I told him: the MINUTE I’m not well I can eat. Or seek medical care. Or rest. Basically, get well soon. Not so for those with whom we stand in solidarity. They don’t feel well – they can starve, become violently ill, possibly die, and then leave a trail of tears. It is for them I resist the desire to eat anything. Will I make it 21 days? We’ll see. I’ve gone 17 in the past.
His other fear: will it make a difference? Eighty seven years of life give him tremendous perspective. He knows how hard it is to change people. And to change a nation? It will take the collective focus of our President and the Executive Branch and the people who fight the good fight. I truly appreciate Mia Farrow making this an issue and a focus. She sees atrocities and knows action is required. What is required of us? Whatever we can do.
1. Fast for a Day.
2. Fast for 21 Days.
3. Symbolically give up food for a meal – and remember why you’re doing it.
4. Call the White House and ask President Obama to do more: 202-456-1111
5. Donate to the cause: www.SaveDarfur.org is one of my favorites, but there are many – look them up on Google
6. Educate yourself. Book suggestion: Not on Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond (authors Don Cheadle and John Prendergast)
A dear friend, Nancy Grant, who is also fasting with me, came up with these reminders of what this can mean here in the U.S. to fast. (a bit more lighthearted but only because the issues are so grave – I actually think they’re also excellent!) Because this only works if it works at all levels.
- Money savings – I don’t buy groceries, go out to eat, or grab an occasional latte. I’m not using the stove or dishwasher so save gas, electricity and water.
- Time savings – I don’t grocery shop, cook, or exercise.
- Losing those last 10 pounds I’ve been wanting to lose for a year or two.
So we continue.