Thursday, March 12, 2015

Hunger at the Halfway

Has it really been nearly a year since I last wrote!? Sitting here at our kitchen table after midnight, it strikes me that the Mustard Seed Muse was in danger of becoming yet another failed aspiration of a cyberspace blogger.

So what has finally inspired me to post again? Why begging for money of course. Yes, I am writing today as a beggar.

Today's Meal - French Onion!
Today marks the halfway point of the 46 day fast my colleague Ryan Worms and I are undertaking together for Development and Peace, the organization we love and work for. From Ash Wednesday (Feb 18) until after the Easter Vigil (April 4) we are eating just one meal of soup and bread a day in the hopes of gaining at least 50 new monthly donors or raising $10,000 for the mission of Development and Peace.

In the process of gaining support for the mission, we are also losing some weight - about 15 pounds so far for me. As the body normalizes to the fast, one starts to feel the hunger itself less acutely. But the challenge is keeping up energy. One can only imagine the psychological burden faced by our brothers and sisters who experience the fatigue of hunger each and every day - 800 million of them throughout the world. For us the hunger is a choice. For them it is not. For us we know clearly when and where our next meal will come. They do not.

Human Rights Defender, Fr. Alberto Franco from Colombia.
While I am fasting in solidarity with the hungry, my main inspiration is actually the courageous men and women with whom we are partners in the struggle for human dignity. Next Tuesday I am going to meet one of them - Fr. Alberto Franco from Justicia Y Paz in Colombia. He is in Canada to meet with our donors and supporters about the challenges faced by his people and what is being done to overcome them. Despite facing death threats and flying bullets, for over 20 years Fr.  Alberto has worked to defend the rights of the most marginalized peoples in Colombia - the Indigenous, the Afro-Colombians and the Campesinas and Campesinos. I will be accompanying him over the course of a speaking tour that will last a week and will span across Toronto, Belleville, Kingston and Peterborough (Let me know if you want to meet him too).

It is said we fast to remember, as Jesus said in the dessert, that we do not live on bread alone. I am indeed finding a spiritual source of energy in my work that replaces the energy provided by food. Even at tonight's meeting I found myself energized as our Peterborough members discussed who will bring what food to one of our public events with Fr. Alberto. Listening to them talk about soups and homemade chili with local bread did not make me groan in hunger, but grin in anticipation.

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