The fastest fast

Disclaimer: On Tuesday, December 27th, 2011, overweight guy and part-time blogger Daniel Mitchell decided to go on a ‘water fast’ – that is, to eat nothing and to drink only water – for one full day, in an attempt to grow closer to God. This is his true story. Times portrayed are rounded to the nearest hour because I said so. . . I’m not doing a blog post about watches. If you want to read a blog post about watches, go find one. I’m not going to stop you from reading a stupid blog post about stupid watches on someone else’s stupid blog, so stop waiting for me to talk you into sticking around!

Disclaimer : Hunger makes me grumpy.

 

10:00 AM

Okay. A water fast. I can do this. Once, when I was in eighth grade, I fasted for seven days, just to prove that I could. I’m not going to even attempt seven days again – I was an idiot in eighth grade, there is empirical proof of this. But I’m sure I can manage one day. I’ll check in periodically (and honestly) throughout the day, and I’ll post this the day after the fast.

I can do this. Gandhi used to fast all the time. He wouldn’t be a pansy about no 24-hour fast, would he? No. No he would not. Because Gandhi is a motha-effin’ man.

The loincloth made that more-or-less obvious.

Anyway, no food until tomorrow, since I’ve already eaten breakfast today.

11:00 AM -

 My coworker friend is going to get taco dip at the café at work. Today is Taco Dip Day. Get thee behind me, Satan!

Tasty, tasty Satan. . .

12:00 PM -

 Dude. Most days I don’t even eat lunch until after noon. Why am I so hungry? Good thing I have all the water I can drink. I’m gonna have to really bulk up on that. . . water.

Okay guys, I'm not gonna lie. This idea is the devil’s buns.

2:00 PM -

 You guys – I am a total food addict!

As illustrated by that one time I almost ate my toddler son.

Seriously, I’m not even all that hungry any more, I’m just obsessed with food. Everyone around me is talking about what they had for lunch, and I’m thinking about this cup of instant noodles in my desk. You know how, in old cartoons, you could tell that someone was hungry because they looked at the person next to them and saw them looking like a turkey, or a hamburger, or something? Well, I opened my desk and looked at my cup of instant noodles, and it turned into a cup of instant noodles! I’ve got problems.

It looks JUST like food!

3:00 PM -

 Who brought the popcorn into work? Who brought the popcorn? I will bring wrath onto this person, the likes of which they cannot conceive! I’m sorry nobody got the memo, but I am friggin’ fasting over here!

POPCOOOOOOOOOORRRRRNN!!!

On another note, I’m having a lovely discussion with my coworker friend Ro about God and church and stuff. And why are having this conversation? Because I mentioned that I was fasting. Nicely!

4:00 PM -

 Okay, now I’m barely hungry. Woohoo! I can make it! I am the greatest! I am the greatest!

We ARE the champions, my friend!

It just occurred to me that I feel triumphant because I haven’t eaten in eight hours. Isn’t that nuts? There are places in this world where people are starving to death, and I’m excited that I can “survive” not eating for a whole work day.

Man. I have work to do.

6:00 PM -

 Before I’d decided to fast today, I told Brandi that I would take her to the grocery store to get some half-priced Christmas candy. Since I was feeling so awesome at 4 o’clock, I assured her that I would, indeed, take her shopping for Christmas candy. After some deliberation, we decided to go to the Walgreen’s just down the street from the Miller Trunk Mall in Duluth.

Do you know how many restaurants are by that Walgreen’s? Quite a few.

Do you know how far the smell of cooking Culver’s burgers can travel on a cool, crisp winter evening? Easily a quarter of a mile.

Do you know that, under optimal conditions, the human nose can smell Christmas candy from up to fifteen feet away, even when it’s still in the box? Oh, it can. I assure you, it can.

So listen, nose. You’ve done right by me for a long time, but if you push me any further, I’m snorting Drain-O.

7:00 PM -

 Every time I think about food, it makes me think about God. Dude. I think I get it.

Holy crap. There’s something to this.

9:00 PM

Author’s Note – Change this to 10:00 PM. The truth is too sad.

 This post has gotten less funny as I go along, and for that I can only apologize. But seriously, guys, it’s hard to be funny when you’re sitting at your computer and YouTube’ing worship songs while sniffling into your Kleenex.

“There’s something in my eye! And it’s onions, I’ve been cutting onions! And ‘Revelation Song’. . . I’m suffering from food deprivation, don’t judge me!”

Man, this day. I managed not to bite the heads off of anyone today, which is good, because I might have eaten them. I’ll check in first thing in the morning, before breaking my fast –

Holy crap! Break my fast? Break-fast? Breakfast!!! Why am I just getting that now?

Oh man, I’m going to bed.

8:00AM -

This is it. Twenty-four hours have passed since my last meal. I keep waiting for the hunger to get overwhelming, but it never has.

I brought in a pear this morning, to go with my oatmeal. It’s sitting on my desk now, on top of a bar of Ghirardelli peppermint bark that I bought for half-off at Walgreen’s. You’d think that the urge to eat either of those things, which are sitting in front of me in plain view, would be hard to resist. The fact is, I’m not sure I’ve gone through anything yet. I know it’s cliché to say this, but there are millions of people in this world that routinely go more than a day without eating as a matter of course. Who am I to complain about one hungry day? So yeah, I’ve got food on my desk to the right of me, but I’ve also got my jug of water just to the left of me. . . and you know what, I’m tempted to go another day.

So, faithful readers, I end my post. I haven’t yet broken my fast, but I’m not stressing it. Maybe I’ll do another twenty-four hours. If God wants me to keep fasting, God will see me through.

Well. . . God, and my glass of water.

You and me against the world, bro.

About Daniel Mitchell

50% of "What the Faith?!?!", a blog about two skeptics who turned to God for no apparent reason. View all posts by Daniel Mitchell

6 responses to “The fastest fast

  • Veronica M. Surges (@jurisdoctorette)

    I’ve decided that fasting is just weird. Don’t get me wrong – I fast (and my day generally goes exactly like yours does) and I believe that it makes powerful stuff happen. But it’s just so…supernatural. Like, why does going without food make me closer to God? There’s the whole element of thinking of God whenever you think about food, and the ascetic element of simplifying your life through going without food for a day. But when it comes down to it, it’s like fasting is another one of God’s awesome quirks that I’ve decided I’ll just never “get.” And I’m totally happy with that – a God that I completely understand is not a God great enough to be worshipped.

    (P.S. I’m in town for the week and meant to introduce myself to you and Brandi at church on Christmas eve, but I ended up having to leave right after the service. I’ll just keep quasi-creepily following the blog instead…)

    • Daniel Mitchell

      Hey V – Sorry we missed you on Christmas Eve! Please keep quasi-creepily following our blog. :) In fact, we love to meet people from all over the place, so don’t worry about that if you think you might want to show the blog to a friend in DC. This isn’t a “Duluth” or “Hillside Church” blog by intent, so the more, the merrier.

      I have been pondering the relationship between miracles and faith for some time, and I think that kind of touches upon your musing about fasting. If something seems to make God take a more active role in our lives, is that because God likes what we’re doing – or is it something more abstract, more akin to metaphysics? I often wonder why miracles seem to accompany faith. Even in the Gospels, Jesus tones down the miracles he performs when he is home, seemingly due to lack of faith. Like in Mark 6:

      ‘4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith.’ (NIV)

      So is there a relationship between faith in God and God’s ability (or inclination) to show himself? Mark says that Jesus COULD NOT do any miracles, due to lack of faith.

      Maybe I’m crazy, but if that is the case, then fasting (which has been proven over centuries to be something God digs) could make us a better. . . conduit?. . . for miracles. Anyway, what are your thoughts?

      • Veronica M. Surges (@jurisdoctorette)

        Oh, I already have shown the blog to some of my DC ‘peeps :D

        It’s funny that you posted this because for the past week (before I read your reply) I’ve been bombarded with questions of faith and miracles. My dad and sister are very ill and some people from church have been praying for them, and faith has been a big part of our discussions.

        When I was a kid, my mom’s close friend died of cancer after praying and praying and praying and believing and praying for healing (that’s ALL she did – she went to a popular faith healer/preacher dude – who is still prominent – who told her to stop chemo if she really believed). After she died, her friends and ex-husband said that she just must not have had enough faith. That really made me bitter at a young age and seemed to put way more emphasis on what WE can do and OUR willpower to believe instead of the One who actually does that miracles. (And it just pissed me off and made me not want to follow a God who punishes people for not having enough faith.)

        After that, I went the “I kind of but not really believe in miracles and a God who heals” route for a couple decades, and have only recently – like the past two years – been changing that worldview. Now I 100% believe that God heals – that he HAS healed us already through Jesus’ death, and that it’s ours for the taking as His adopted kids – but I’m still not sure where faith fits in there. There is definitely a link, as evidenced by your quote from Mark up there, as well as all the times Jesus says “Dude, your faith totally healed you!” But what about the times where people CAN’T have faith? Like they’re passed out from a fever, or, you know, dead? Jesus still healed them. Was it due to the faith of their friends/relatives/masters? (And if so, why are half my family members still in the hospital right now after days and days of prayer? <— genuine question, not bitter-oh-poor-me like it sounds) (and don't worry, they're doing much better and will probably be released today – but why did it take so long? Why'd they have to go to the hospital in the first place?)

        So I guess all these rambling thoughts are just to say that this is another one of those things that I'm "working out with fear and trembling," praying that God will reveal the Truth about the connection between faith and healing.

      • Daniel Mitchell

        Faith healing kind of scares me. Not “asking for healing through prayer,” which some might call “faith healing,” but rather the faith healing that comes when a person seeks ONLY prayer and the intervention of God. VERY scary to me. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma when I was 29, and that cancer is now so treatable that it’s recovery rate is HUGE. It’s one of the most treatable cancers there is, next to melanoma. BUT – big thing – it’s not treatable surgically. So, before chemotherapy, people with my cancer died. Period. Now you can get two months of chemo and one month of radiotherapy and get a clean bill of health. Isn’t there something to be said for God’s place in that? Faith healing scares me.

        In my next post (which you already commented on, and which I will be commenting back on shortly!) one of the things I talk about is this idea that seems to be “Shit happens. Accept that it happens. Love God the same, because God loves you the same.” I fully believe that, even though that NEVER means shit won’t happen. Entropy is a fact, order breaks down, things die. That’s the world we live in – but hopefully, not the LAST world we live in.

  • Alan

    I will just agree that you were an idiot in 8th grade to fasted for 7 days. = X

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