Easter Sunday is the best day of the year for Christians. With out Jesus resurrection, we could not be saved from our sins, and have eternal life. That is the real reason for Christians to celebrate. And we did, thanks to a wonderful family brunch after Easter service.
My oldest daughter is thousands of miles away following her dreams, but managed to represent her spot at the table with a wonderful Vegan cake she convinced one of her close high school friends (who caters weddings and other events) to make for us. Damn it was good! Some of the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had, period.
Now that Lent is officially over for 2017, it’s time to reflect and recap the last 47 days. It all started with a simple question, “Dad, what are you giving up for Lent this year?”. I hadn’t given it much thought over the years since most attempts were quick failures, mostly because the reason wasn’t clear.
Building on my New Year’s resolution to strive for a more open mind on all things that matter, I decided to give it serious thought. After some deep pondering, I elected to give up “meat”. Everyone was quick to say “What and Why”? My initial response was “Why not”.
But there was more to it than simply a smug “why not”. A lot more than just trying out some new recipes and eating a more healthy diet.
My children. They have grown into fantastic young adults, and I felt it was time to take some lessons from each of them. After all, it was their idea to give up something for Lent.
My oldest has struggled most her life with food-related issues and is currently Vegan. She is smart, stubborn, opinionated, passionate, and always pushing the limits on traditional ways. The classic trail blazer. Hum, sounds like someone I know deep down inside. We tend to butt heads on things we don’t agree on, and even stuff we do. I also have the tendency to be quick to judge her “wild” ideas, and show compasion for her ideals.
Then there is my middle child, the smart and talented son, who carries himself well with common sense and practicality. I’ve always though it was strange that he eats food in order and has no problem eating the same things for breakfast and lunch every day, provided it supplies the proper amount of nutrients for his given agenda. Whether its running, weight lifting, weight loss, or muscle gains, he has a plan for everything. Methodical is probably the best way to describe his approach to life. He sets a goal, and nothing gets in his way.
Then there is the baby of the family, my youngest daughter. Smart, caring, loving, funny, and always the crisis manager. She’s also very passionate about life, and focused on exploring her relationship with Christianity. She signed up for a summer long Christian leadership development program in Florida. Even with some apprehension from others, she stretches forward to test herself.
So the “Why” is really all about walking in their shoes to better understand their perspectives on life. They have all matured into outstanding young adults and have so much to offer and learn from.
I went Vegetarian for Lent to gain appreciation for how my oldest feels. I dug in deep to all the Vegan and Vegetarian philosophies, some which I may never be able to erase from my brain. I sought the truth about humane treatment of animals, the devastation of our environment by unrestricted farming practices, and the ethics of consuming animal products.
I ran every day to ensure I had some substantial exercise to test my diet, and methodically work through the nutritional impacts of using a different protein source. I consulted daily with my son on my feelings, nutrition, and the realities of all the data I uncovered. I’m sure he is sick of hearing about it all, but provided excellent support.
I read scripture daily to relate my feelings to the teaching of Christianity in hopes of finding more compassion. I wanted to really understand why my youngest pending trip to Florida this summer was so important to her and provide the best possible support. Every Sunday, the sermon seemed to highlight how she must be feeling and why it is important to be passionate about our faith.
I am a changed man. I have opened my mind to all things possible. The teacher was the student. I have learned so much in such a short period of time and have only scratched the surface.
Now the biggest question everyone is asking is “What Now”. My answer is simple, “I don’t know”. I feel great and want to continue my exploration in the culinary world of “no meat”. I am conflicted on the ethical issues associated with consuming animal products. Production farming practices don’t seem like a good thing. Are there things we as an intelligent society need to do different, sure. How can my choices make a difference?
We are all taught that our goal is to leave our world a better place when we leave than it was when we got here. Backpacking rule #1 “Leave No Trace”. It’s what we all want for our children. Why shouldn’t be that way for the food and products we consume and use.
As I say goodbye to Lent 2017, my going forward position is to continue a focus on Plant-based diet and gain a deeper understanding of the impacts this approach takes on my health and the environment.
Pushing the limits of BBQ may take on a different look and feel, but I guarantee it will taste great!
Thank you to my family for all this support and encouragement and teaching me a thing or two about life.
Peace to all.