Thursday, March 26, 2009

Car Fast Day 3 (oops, I did it again) and Day 4 (You Go Girl)

Well, as predicted, I broke a car fast rule again last night. I got a ride home. Not as carbon neutral as I'd like, but I'm no hero and it's just nice to take people up on offers like that. Plus it felt kind of snooty to turn them down.

The closest comparison is that awkward moment when a host who has cooked up a great pot roast discovers that one of the guests is a vegetarian. I respect the vegetarian, but it can affect the overall dinner party mood. Most vegetarians are artful in navigating such scenarios gracefully. I'm not so skilled. I prefer avoiding the scene altogether.

When I do a fast from food, I'm relatively quiet about it and it avoids the awkwardness. I arrange my schedule to avoid dinner parties and other moments where my fasting will affect the community at large. With the car fast, I've been much more vocal and public. (You didn't see me blogging about my food fast, now did you?). Maybe that was dooming the fast from the start. Jesus commands our fasts to be in secret and I can see why. It makes people feel weird to find out you are fasting. Also, it makes them feel secretly judged. The holier than thou feeling creeps in.

I was vocal about my car fast because part of its purpose is to draw attention to our carbon footprints. It would be counterproductive to be silent about it. But once I've spoken about it, I need to accept the consequences.

One of the consequences is that people care. I don't think this congregation has it in them to be comfortable with me standing out in the dark cold night to wait for a bus. And frankly, I think that speaks volumes about their kindness. And it's not just for me - they'd do it for anyone in the church. So, rule #2 has been canned. I'm accepting rides.

But I was glad that last night the people who gave me a ride home humored me. They stopped 50 feet from my front door so that I could walk home. I loved that they did that. And even after I'd called the woman a temptress.

Well, today was day 4.

It's the kind of drizzly day that you don't really need an umbrella, but if you're out, say, biking for an hour, you will get wet. My socks and gloves are drying on my heating unit. Despite the cold and rain, I enjoyed the ride. I noticed people I don't normally notice, saw the way the neighborhoods change fairly dramatically, and discovered that the roads in Rockville are in much better condition than the roads in Wheaton.

I wasn't biking fast, but I basically kept pace with the bus. Tried to ride on the side roads when possible and I rode on quite a few sidewalks. I usually frown on sidewalk riding (the bike's proper place is the road) but I like my life and want to stay alive for a while. There were too many cars out there today who didn't have the same set of priorities.

I had flashes of road rage when people got waay too close for comfort. I designed an invention in my head much like those fancy spokes that stick out from car hubcaps to let them know if they've hit the curb. These would stick out from a bike and brush against cars that got too close, making some horrendous noise and getting the cars to move over. If that comes out in the next few years, you read it here first.

By and large though, drivers noticed me and kept their distance (the blinking light on back and the bright headlight on the front, not to mention the neon vest, all certainly help). I was flagging on the ride back to church when someone called out from the sidewalk in downtown Rockville "You go girl." Ya. I'm going to pull on those toasty socks and ride to the next destination. You go.


  1. Congrats on completing days 3 and 4. Your determination and sometimes hilarious recounts of your days are impressive. About fasting in secret: I understand what is specifically said in Matthew 6 and agree with you. But as I read vs 16-18 over again, I get a sense more of what is being stressed in those verses is that we are not to brag (or 'toot our own horn') while fasting, but there is nothing said about modestly setting an example for people. I think that people who know you or read these posts totally understand your good intentions and carbon footprint message. Good luck with the rest of your fast. Great post as always.

  2. Thanks - yes, you are right, the scene in Matt is emphasizing humility in fasting and it leaves room for setting an example. My challenge is to modestly set an example for people without seeming judgemental or self-righteous. I certainly trust that God works through me, but to consider myself an example...hard to swallow. If I'm an example, I want to be an example of complexity in faith, the mix of intentions, emotions, dry spells, and the need for forgiveness above all. Thanks for the feedback. Keep it coming.


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