I don’t know if you have heard, but it is Eastertide!
That means that Lent is over, and with it, our Lenten Hunger Challenge is done. Caput. Finito.
Can you tell that I am a little excited?
For forty days this Lent, our family spent a whole lot of time counting pennies, scouring for coupons, planning out more affordable (often meatless, rarely organic or local) meals, and cooking cooking cooking everything at home. I gave up coffee; Alex gave up grapefruit. We both gave up snacking. For forty days, we lived with less (a WHOLE lot less) because we wanted to understand a little more what it is like to live within the limits of the average SNAP benefit.
In a previous post I share some of my own personal reflections about how powerful this experience was for me. It goes without saying that, on Easter Sunday, our family had a much deeper appreciation for the abundance that we experience in our lives. Living within a scarce food budget really brought home to me how much it matters to choose what you want to eat purely because you like it. I hadn’t thought about it much before, but in the middle of Lent, the question was rarely “what do you want to eat?” but instead was almost always, “What can we afford?”
As we go back to life as usual, I am grateful for the luxury of choice. I am thankful beyond words for the abundance of good, healthy food that our family is blessed to be able to put on our table, and I have every intention of enjoying it. But I can’t help but think of the God who calls us to envision the world as a banquet where every person has enough. Who calls us to follow him until the day when no person spends undue energy and anxiety wondering, “What can we afford” but rather finds rest and delights in the Presence of the One who would feed us until we hunger and thirst no more.
Our family decided at the beginning of this experiment that we wouldn’t just use this experience as an opportunity to diet and save money. We wanted to put our money where our mouth is, and support initiatives that address hunger and poverty through the One Great Hour of Sharing. After living for 40 days on SNAP benefits, we were delighted to be able to give $494 that we would have spent on our own table towards the great work of OGHS. And thanks to the generosity of some friends and residents who liked what we were doing, we were able to match that gift and then some.
Imagine what we could do if each of us committed to support anti-poverty and anti-hunger measures in our own communities. I wonder how we might find ourselves standing on Holy Ground when we with those who hunger and thirst? I wonder how we might make a difference in the lives of the least vulnerable? And how might they make a difference in ours?