November 22, 2011

Fasting on Thanksgiving

As we approach Thanksgiving, I have decided that it will be a day of fasting for me.  In a country where we can eat to excess every meal of every day, enjoying my own privilege and excess does not make me thankful.  It is the absence of abundance that evokes thankfulness for what I have.

On Thanksgiving, I will be surrounded by family, who are all healthy.  What greater abundance do I need?

In approaching a Thanksgiving fast, I came across two pieces of inspiration for me:

Martin Luther King's Thanksgiving Fast for Freedom
In 1964, students from 120 colleges and universities gave up a dinner during Thanksgiving week.  The funds they would have spent on food were donated to feed hungry and impoverished black families in the south.

The second piece of inspiration for me comes from Gandhi.  In 1932, he fasted in opposition to a separate electorate for the "untouchable" class in India.  Gandhi believed strongly in the inherent worth and dignity of all people and was instrumental in helping end the discrimination against the untouchables.  In beginning the fast, he stated:

"By the fast I want to throw the whole of my weight (such as it is) in the scales of justice pure and simple."  

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

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