An unsweetened Lent, the third week

An unsweetened Lent, the third week March 11, 2015

Photo by Christy Thomas

I am not complaining. Hear this: I am not complaining. I’m in Los Angeles staying at the medical center hotel on the UCLA campus. The only people who can stay here are those who are doing some sort of testing or procedure at UCLA. They provide daily breakfast. 

I’m here for the final testing to see whether I can donate a kidney to my brother. I should have the ending answer on this in about ten days.

This morning, I underwent a stress echocardiogram. They told me not to eat beforehand in order to keep from throwing up afterwards. Pretty nice of them actually. Anyway, I was pretty hungry afterwards.

I am doing this no added sweetener of any kind Lenten discipline. That combined with the gluten intolerance that I live with every day does tend to limit my diet. The photo shows the sum total of what I am able to eat from all the foods provided at this breakfast buffet.

Hard-boiled eggs and a piece of fruit. And yes, I am grateful for them. But I am fascinated as I go into this venture by how much of our commonly eaten foods are either wheat-based or have added sweetener. Or both which seems to be the usual case.

In a few hours I will board a plane to head home. Am bringing on board the plane a couple of pieces of cheese and a package of nuts. I can drink a can of soda water. And pay for a glass of wine which is the only indulgence I’m getting these days.

Again, I am not complaining. I believe that God has led me in this direction and I’m certainly not going hungry. But it is kind of shocking to look at our common foods through these very restricted eyes.

I suspect many of our own unacknowledged sins function like the hidden sugar and wheat in everything. They’re just there, so common that we no longer even notice them. That is the purpose of a reflective Lent, to start paying more attention to the things that we normally don’t to see.

This one seems to be doing its work well.

Parts One and Two of the “Unsweetened Lent” series.

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