Saturday, February 2, 2008

Drinking Water, Eating Crow

          

Right now, I'm fasting.  Once a month, every month, at the start of that month, for about 30 hours I eat nothing and drink only water.  For some reason it hurts, but I don't care.  I do this on behalf of something more important - an act of empathy.  Let me explain.

Remember when you had that operation, how frightened you were?  The prayers you asked for?  Remember when your dog died, how sad you felt?  And your cat, when he was so sick.  What about your Mom, who you miss so much, and your Father who you haven't spoken to in so long.  That brother who died so young, who you can't stop grieving for.  Let's not forget the pain you live with every day of your life.  At some point, almost all of you have asked in your own way for prayers, for rememberances, for empathy.  When I tap out my comments on your pages about something close to your heart, I make a commitment and I do this most seriously because I keep each commitment I make.

I'm looking at two pages, both sides filled with names of people, things, animals, intentions.  To read any would do a disservice to those who have wants and needs but don't know how to ask, so I'll say only that if you've ever made a plea for something or someone, your name is here.  Some of these names represent lives who've died to this world.  They don't need my prayers anymore, I need theirs.  But I keep the names.

Why am I disclosing something I've kept so private...Up to now, this post would never have been made, but something's gone so terribly wrong and I don't understand it.  I've been confronted with anger, confusion and fierce opposition to what I do each month.  So of course, I come here to present my position.  Certain members of my family and several friends somehow found out I do this, and the more vocal of them are furious. 

"Are you an idiot??  You're damaging your health for people you don't know!"

"These aren't real people, Cathy, they're virtual.  You don't even know if they exist."

"Without food for that long you can't walk.  Keep this up and someone will have to step in." 

"No one really cares - why should you?!"

When a person galvanizes themselves, their body, mind, spirit, on behalf of another life, to me it makes that person so much more than ever they were.  I'm grateful and privileged to be able to use this ability in the name of someone other than myself. 

Yet I love my family and friends, they're all hard-won and precious.  Incredibly, I've heard myself agreeing with some, eating crow to preserve the peace - and I'm ashamed of that.  Though I'm set on continuing this tradition, it's important to me that my acts don't affect them in a negative way.  This seems to be one of those acts.  I note that some don't seem to understand the real value of people, even themselves, and look upon what I do as self-destrutive - one insists I have a mental defect.  Is it a character flaw to care about people?   

Whatever God represents to others, I see that as private and inviting no preachful sounds from anyone.  God to me is not so much loving as LOVE ITSELF and no power can match it.  So I look to that Supreme Love on behalf of you, your needs, your fears and hopes, your family, your life.  I've been invited into your lives, I'd be monstrously selfish to decline such an offer.  To me, every person who takes the time to venture into this experiment of public journalling makes a statement, and it's one of trust.  Trust and hope that someone will read their words and it'll matter.  It will make a difference.  It does to me.

Whether it's a tale of woe or one of joy, whether it's about the broken washing machine or the broken heart, whether it's simple or complex, I see each word as a direct call to others, just as I do here.  I'd be a sorry excuse and a blatant liar if I said I write in these pages only for myself.  If I wanted to hear myself talk there's an easier way to do it than this.  The input and feedback I get in comments, even if it's but one, is welcome help and sometimes just the right guidance and assurance needed.  Other times, and most of it, all a human being wants is contact.

So I put it to you:  Does caring really matter anymore, in a world where people are so focused on what affects them and nothing more?  Why do we put such distance between each other? 

    

 

30 comments:

ab45yui said...

Cathy - you've asked some very potent questions.  I can't imagine anyone answering no to the first one.  Because inspite of the selfishness that seems to be embodied amongst the masses at times, when it counts people tend to be there for one another.  Case in point, 9-11.  I think back in the aftermath of that day and how kindly people were to one another.  I watched for it, and saw evidence of it by way of random acts of kindness.  It is sad such a tragedy had to occur to bring out the best in people.  But then I also sadly watched that part of ourselves go back into hibernation again.  For myself, I never let it go back to what it may have been.  I've been accused on many occasion of being too nice, but as one office mate finally conceded she wished she was more like me in that department.  Sometimes I think its sheer fear that keeps people from caring.  Fear they will get hurt or something will be taken from them.  I wish everyone could live by the principle of "Paying it Forward".  One of my favorite movies!  

As far as the distance thing -- self preservation or as I stated earlier fear.  Also, we're too busy.  We have too many things on the plate and we do not stop to smell the roses or take notice, back to being selfish again.  

I think what you have chosen to do is what you said a personal decision.  Friends and family may not understand it, but its yours to make.  I wonder if God is going to be more concerned about that schedule we all seem so mad to keep, and check offs of what we got done - or the ones that mattered more, just taking some of our time - even though it takes us out of our comfort zone - and showing we care.

Best wishes, Cathy!

swmpgrly said...

I think people really do care but some find it as a weekness to show thier feelings...which is sad. Some may just have so much on thier plate that they get too busy and dont even realize the distance is there.

preciousone25 said...

Cathy, I think it's wonderful that you care so much about us, about people, all people!!!  And 30 hours of fasting is NOT going to kill you, it's biblical to fast in prayer, and to fast for health..... 24 hours is usually the normal amount of time, but as long as you are drinking water, 30 hours is fine.   I've read that fasting CAN shrink tumors and can even kill them off eventually.  Fasting is a very strong petition to God.... don't give it up if that's what your heart is telling you to do.  I use to fast once a week (24 hours), after two years my prayers were answered and I had a beautiful baby boy after 5 miscarriages (I didn't fast during my pregnancy).... my only child.  Fasting in prayer DOES work!!

Joann

sybilsybil45 said...

You aint no idiot ....what you do you do out of love. I admire anyone who can stand up against the crowd. It is not easy to do that.  That is why I think there dosn't seem to be so much caring..people are afraid to love/care to deaply..many fear whatever they love/care for will be taken from them for some reason so don't want to get to close..who are thinking most of....others  or themslvels ?
If you feel it is right for you to fast once a month I am sure it will be the right thing to do..Me  I couldn't do that, but I do pray and pray so often throughout the day. I don't think I have ever prayed so much as I have prayed since I joined J land...Much LOve  Sybil xx  you know what my life time motto is..
LOVE ON ANOTHER.

pharmolo said...

You an idiot? No, you're not. And what the heck is wrong with caring for somebody else? You should hear the rap I get in certain quarters for doing what I'm doing on AOL.

wwfbison said...

I cannot imagine anyone calling you an idiot for caring or for the method in which you choose to do this.  I care for a number of people in J-Land, I care about what happens to them and I think of them even when I am not reading their journal.  If they aren't "real" or who they say they are, so be it, then I am a fool but I've still taken the time to feel something and care about someone.  I think what you do is wonderful, I don't want you to take ill from it but obviously you are okay with it as you have been doing it.  The world is full of self absorbed, uncaring people who think someone else may or may not care so why should I.  I don't agree with your family - I agree with you.
xxx
Lisa

bhbner2him said...

Cathy, unless you have some phyical ailment like diabetes where your body needs a steady rhythm of food, I see no harm in how you chose to focus on others and their needs.  Perhaps you should get some literature on fasting and reassure your loved ones that you approach it in a healthy sound way.  -  Barbara

pamal3 said...

Cathy. You are an extremely caring person and whenever I ask myself the same question that you asked above, I can now safely say that caring does matter when there are people like you in the world. Love Pam xx

xxroxymamaxx said...

Yes, caring definitely matters.  And prayer matters wether the person whom you're praying for knows it or not.  I have witnessed it first hand and I KNOW for a fact that it matters.  

Don't eat crow.  It doesn't taste like chicken.  :o!~  It's the water I would have a problem with cause I can't just drink plain water.  It has to be flavored in some way.  

Sorry I haven't been visiting as much as I'd like to.

Love, Shelly

lanurseprn said...

Caring absolutely matters! We all need to feel that we are cared about. We like to know that someone actually wonders how our day is going, what we are doing. Maybe that is why some of us journal. We have formed these distant friendships where there actually is caring for one another. I grow very VERY attached to my journaling buddies. That is why I don't understand when someone says "That's it...I'm closing my journal. End of story." Some can drop it like a hot potatoe. I can't do that. Maybe that is why there is such a distance, because it can be dropped so easlly? And that hurts.
If you feel like you need to fast to express yourself, then I see nothing wrong in it as long as you aren't making yourself sick. You are more open with your family than I would have been. My family would give me a hard time, too. So I'd probably keep it to myself. But, that's just me. I give you a lot of credit for discussing it with them.
Interesting entry, and as always, I learned more about you.
Hugs..Pam

lifes2odd said...

This is my 3rd attempt at this comment -- Aol keeps eating my comments tonight!

Cathy,
I can't answer your last question because I ask myself the same thing all the time. I know there are some of us out here who still care -- unfortunately it doesn't seem to be the majority anymore. It's sad.

I think what you do is wonderful! And I totally disagree about it being harmful to you (unless you have some kind of medical condition that makes fasting dangerous). I think you should research the health benefits of fasting to print and provide for those who are concerned. It's actually a very healthy practice!

People who aren't here in J-Land just don't understand, we have to forgive them for that. They just don't realize how we are here for each other -- generally much more often than our "real" friends and even our immediate families!

I'm so glad that you still care. I do too.

Hugs, Martha

firestormkids04 said...

Cathy, caring for others icertainly not a character flaw!  I applaud you for taking these 30 hours to pray and have loving thoughts for others.  Your kindness was there for me at a time when I was hurting emotionally & spiritually. And I know you have done so for many others.  This is not a flaw, rather strength of character in a world where so many people are totally self-involved.  YES!  Caring does matter.  People are affected by caring whether they acknowledge it or not.  About distance . . . I think it's fear of getting hurt, too involved, offering love . . . but I am a champion for taking chances.  If I offer loving friendship, how can it hurt?  Am I rebuffed?  Sometimes and that makes me stronger.  Cathy, just keep on doing this.  Tell those who oppose that you love them and will pray for them.  Love and blessings, Penny  http://journals.aol.com/firestormkids04/FromHeretoThere http://journals.aol.com/firestormkids04/TimeforaLittlePoetry

rockoned7 said...

Your caring nature has shone through like a beacon of light unto this darkened world of J land, so the words of a certain song “Don’t go changing”. Who the heck cares what you do when you abstain from food as some replies show you that it is a healthier practice than one would expect? If you were doing that to lose a few pounds like we all sometimes need to do well that is a different matter and I for one wouldn’t endorse or oppose that for anyone, but as you do that for your own very personal reason why can anyone critise you for that?

It is my personal belief that the human body can last approximately 56 days without food so 30 hours is nothing. More important is your reasoning behind that. It is not a mental defect or cry for empathy but in your own natural way of having a very intimate love and concern for your fellow man. Ok I have said to you in the past that don’t wear your heart on your sleeve but what a very big sleeve you have.

It is not some virtual dream as the people on J land are real and I’m sure that I must be on that list and happy to be on it. Some people want to store their richness and when it becomes too much use a bank in case someone takes it from you. Your richness is stored very much in a very secure place where nobody can touch it. It is in my heart as it is in yours, so again “Don’t go changing” ED

queenb8261 said...

What a sacrifice you give to us "virtual people & animals" and those you know and love. I  don't feel I am deserving of your devotion. I hope if you have included me in your act of love, I appreciate it. It worked. Our "stray" cat that my son & his daughters (who live with us) ran off a few weeks ago. She was an outdoor cat as I have 2 dogs, 1 whom I trained to chase OFF strays. Tom and the girls fell in love with her. She was so skinny and scruffy. The next thng I know, he's feeding her. And that drew several OTHER cats so the next thing I know he's moved "Calico Callie" (they named her) food to our fenced in back yard. This was late in the summer. The night's started getting colder and then he has box complete with pillow, towels and blankets.But I wouldn't let her in the house.
Of course I started caring about her because the kids loved her. So I was sad when she disappeared. This has been about a month ago. We still would call her. Tom was in the back yard and heard this faint meow. He meowed back, the cat meowed a little louder. He started calling Callie. He opend the gate and she came slowly trotting to him!!!! Her tail is all broken and she's all skinny again.Cathy she fought her way home to us! Tommy put her in our dog carrier and rushed her to vet. She's okay. They think she'd been in a fight. The gave her a shot and some meds. She is going to live. Might lose her tail and that would be sad, but she is home. She has a new pink collar with "diamonds" and a bell. She's sound asleep on the bed with my little granddaughters.
Long story longer. How can I thank you. When you read our blogs you hear us. You think of us. You help us. And we love you for it.
I hope your family doesn't give you too hard of a time. If you ever need a thing you know you onlly have ask.
I sure didn't mean to turn this into an entry. But I had to tell you.
Luv N Hugs, Barb

kirkbyj05 said...

I commend you for your strength of  compassion for those who need your prayers.  I have no issues with your fasting.  It is a good way to cleanse the body and give the soul a much needed prayer bath.  We could all do with praying more often.  I do it at unusual times of the day and especially when there is someone calling out in need inJLand. I do it as soon as I read theri page and their cries.
We are all real caring and thoughtful human beings who need to reach out to others to touch or be touched by their lives.  
I believe this genuine interest is what draws like-minded souls together.
I often lie in bed and begin an internal list of those who are going through heartache, illness or deaths in their lives, before I drop off to sleep.  I care about others.  You care and many of our JLand friends care...that's more than enough to be going on with.
As I have grown older I am asserting myself more now that I have time for the 'me' inside.  Bringing up a family distracts from that sometimes.  
I won't be drawn in to eating crow pie because this is who I am and this is who you are so let well alone those who want to pull you away from your beliefs.
To Thine Own Self Be True.  
This is your way of getting thorugh life and making 'rings in that pol of life'.  I admire you for that.
Much love
Jeanie xxx

attitudeslc said...

Caring matters.  It most definitly matters!


Also: In reguard to fasting.
There isn't a single "religious" tradition that doesn't advocate fasting.  As a matter of fact, medical Dr.'s are starting to recomend it more and more.

It helps to cleanse the mind, body and soul.   It helps one refocus and reconnect.

I am so sorry that those you love to do not understand what you do.  Thank you for sharing that with "us" here.  It does matter to us.  

Perhaps, invite your family here, so they can understand how real we are and get to know us.  It is only through experience people can understand the connections that are formed here.

Hugs, Rosemary

frankandmary said...

Wow, my bf of many years ago would be dead if your family had correct info.  He was a Buddhist(well, still is, & very much alive) & regularly fasted 72 hours during retreats. He did a 24 hour fast every week, & was a super healthy guy & never got "admonished" by doctors. I've done 24 & 48 hr fasts & found them cleansing, esp the 48. Your family doesn't know people who fast as part of activism, health or spiritual pursuits?  Get them some info.
As far as caring, we definitely are a more narrow self-interested society than we should be, but that isn't going to change any time soon; it tends to be: More for you means less for me, which is BAD. That you don't feel that way is a blessing to others & to yourself.
~Mary

gazker said...

I know fasting is good for the body and have done it myself. I think what you do on behalf of others is very noble.
Gaz xxxx

valphish said...

I must send you an email on this.  Thanks for directing me to this entry.  God bless, my Cateri.  Love, Val xox
http://journals.aol.com/valphish/ThereisaSeason

gdireneoe said...

They're fools...and most people are frightened of what they aren't willing to understand.  I laud you, I applaude you, I thank you.  Not for your commitment to us (I thank you for that, of course, but more specific), but foe helping me with my own direction.  I have been searching for a way to manage my prayer list better.  I just found it...thank you. ;)  C.

ma24179 said...

I think it is very caring of you... you know there is always someone who has to put their big noses in someone else's busines. Don't worry about it. You are a kind person. -Missy

rdautumnsage said...

Cleansing the body is a sacred form of purification among Native Americans. I've gone on a few spiritual quest (vision seeking) from time to time. It's the most profound enlightening thing I've ever done in my life. So ask you to eat crow for believing in this aspect of healing for those you care about, never in a million years. I've become quite close to many in this world of journaling.....and your right it takes courage to let people in to your life, to share your most intimate part of you, your words.....when someone does , I don't take it lightly.

When I say prayers on the smoke, it's a form of purification as well. Burning sage and cleansing the spirit and asking Creator for guidance for those who need it. Why? Like you because I take it serious when someone calls out for someone to listen to hear , to be there for them. Yes, dear friend...Caring does matter. Knowing someone out there cares enough about what happens to you and the world around them makes all the difference in the world. Admittedly there are fewer and fewer of us who genuinely still do, but isn't that all the more reason to care even more? (Hugs) Indigo

shrbrisc said...

I agree with indigo as long as you only do it once a month it shouldn't hurt.
hugs
Sherry

treesrgreen78 said...

Have not been well so have missed some of your entries.  I know quite a few people who fast ever so often.  They feel it is very beneficial physically and spirutuall as well.  As for some of your family and friends that feel the people here on journal land and in the chat rooms are not real, I beg to differ.  I have personally met quite a few in real life on this computer.  Some I will probably never see again.  Some I liked as acquaintances.  Some will say hello to on here as the year goes by, but some have become very special to me.  Some, like Luddie 343 have helped to change my life, by their kinds comments and caring, and the support they give me.  My fondest wish is to some day meet my dearest friend, who always give a kind word to others, never ceases to amaze me at the wonderful entries you make and especially the knowledge you impart us all.  I have learned a great deal from a friend that your family would term as "virtual".  You are very imporant in my life, and indeed are a forever friend, god bless you Luddie and I thank God from my heart for him sending you into my life.

ksquester said...

Yes, it matters.  YOU matter.  It is YOUR path.  You is to question YOUR path.  If you didn't eat or drink for a week, it would be different, but you are an intellengent woman.  Mass conciousness is a powerful thing..........for the greater good OR for evil to creep in.  Too few people care and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Luke, the Wonder Dog sends his regards also!   Anne

mutualaide said...

Caring matters more than we remember.  Wait... more than SOME remember.  I care deeply about my 'virtual' friends.  I too know friends who don't understand how important each of my J-land friends and acquaintences have become to me.  I let little family in to this space because I fear they won't understand and I don't have the energy to argue a point that has nothing to do with their immediate lives.  Arguing will make me sad and I will pile on the guilt .... at this age, I think I can do without that.  I also believe I can make my own decisions about my faith, my friendships and who I care about.  

Caring is what makes the world a nicer place.  Without manners, and CARING,  society would become just a nasty and scary place to be.

God is Love.  However you express your love and caring to others is your business.  

{{hugs}}

geminirising12 said...

Caring exists;  caring matters.  The only distance between us is miles, and this was not created by us.  It is what it is.  I still care, and you, my friend, still matter and always will.  

jmorancoyle said...

    I could never pass judgment on what you are doing. Obviously there is some benefit you take from this. On the other hand, loved ones will say almost anything, no  matter how hurtful, to get you to do things there way if they feel your life or health is threatened. I'm not a doctor, but I don't think that 30 hours without food once a month would hurt most of us. Let me repeat the key word here, most. Just be careful.
Jude
http://journals.aol.com/jmorancoyle/MyWay

sunnyside46 said...

You are so kind to care so deeply.
I am very touched
Marti

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