Saturday, March 30, 2013


Furious activity is no substitute for understanding. H.H. Williams

As this season of Lent comes to a close, I'm remembering a Lenten discipline I took on several years ago. The Episcopal priest where I attended church suggested instead of giving up something for Lent, to take something on. I love food—its flavor, scent, and texture, but often bolt it down, giving it scant attention. I decided that during Lent I would savor my food.

Next day I made a favorite breakfast, a cheese omelet. I noted how pretty it looked on the plate and picked up my fork. But an interesting news story was playing on the radio and I strained to hear it. I shut the radio off and picked up my fork again. I remembered then I had to turn on my curling iron so I could get ready for work. I dashed upstairs.

Back at the table, I sat down and took a bite. Oh! What about the clothes I'd forgotten to put in the drier the night before? I dashed downstairs.

That's how it went. Up, down, up, down. I'd had no idea how splintered I allowed myself to be during meals. It took me a full week to learn to sit still and eat breakfast as my sole task. The benefit? Food tasted wonderful.

I'd meant to take on all meals during that Lent, but breakfast was all I could manage. After Lent ended, I kept the practice of eating breakfast mindfully. But it can still be challenging. This morning, NPR began an interview with someone I admire and I didn't shut the radio off. I could have delayed eating until the interview was over; instead I absentmindedly emptied my plate.

I think I had a good breakfast, only I can't remember what it was.

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