“I”m going on a fast, want to join me?”
“A fast. Eating light…actually, eating very little. Only for a week. Want to join me?” Chel repeated.
It was the beginning of January. It turns out Chel’s church had a yearly fasting period that lasted for a week for cleansing, hope and renewal. Of course, I didn’t understand any of that yet. To someone who had just spent New Year’s eve drunk in a conga line, it just sounded like an invitation to starve.
I looked at Chel like she was crazy. But then, I had packed on a few pounds and thought a fast would be a great way to get back in shape.
“Sure, why not. Count me in.”
Try everything once.
It was a bit of a coincidence that my twin, Karla, had come up to Baguio that week to spend the holidays with me. She had brought me along my Bible, which I hadn’t touched since it was given to me as a present months ago.
She handed it over to me and said, “Here, you’ll need this up here.”
I didn’t know it yet but she would be absolutely correct.
Kraut, one of my closest friends from high school had married the man of his dreams, a pastor, and had been telling me about Jesus before I left for the mountains. She gave me the bible as an early Christmas present and I had purposefully left it at home. Truth was, I was a little uneasy with Bibles. It was a drag reading it and none of it made much sense to me. So to see it travel right back up to my hands tripped me out for a bit.
First the fast then the Bible.
Is someone trying to send me a message here?
Years ago, at the height of my excessive alcohol, drugs and partying, Katie, the daughter of an Australian missionary had prayed with me when I was completely and utterly wrecked. We asked Jesus to come into my life and into my heart that night. But I was so out of it that I did not take it seriously at all. Within 24 hours, I was back to my old ways.
But seeds had been planted in me back then.
Another thing. My older sister Pau called me up one day and told me some news. She had been a Christian for several months now and it turns out she was going on the fast too. I always thought that being a Christian was good for her. She was able to drop a nicotine habit that she had carried around for many years. But still, the whole Christian thing was just too freaky for me to take. So I was quick to tell her that I was going on the fast but only to try it out and not because I had found Jesus. Pau would be a precious source of strength during that week.
Anyway, I was not thinking about this chain of events at all. I was only focused on losing weight.
The fast consisted of several phases. First, you prepare your stomach by eating only raw fruits and vegetables. Then you drop your meals to once a day. Eventually, you stop eating solids and take in only juices and water. On the last few days, you’re left only with water.
I’ve been told that the more experienced ones can go for up to weeks without food or water but I wasn’t about to try that. I was just being my old try stuff for kicks self, and not trying to find salvation.
The first few days were insane. I smoked a lot of cigarettes and lived off coffee. Chel kept playing weird music which I soon discovered was worship. I thought it was strange but I shut up. Besides, it welcomed a beautiful presence into our apartment.
Needless to say, those first few days drove me mad.
All I could think about was hitting a bar and knocking down a few bottles of Red Horse.
Little did I know that after that fast, I would hardly ever touch a drop of alcohol again.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17