Out with the old, in with the new, it’s easy enough said but the past is a tricky thing. An older family friend used to say “The devil’s not the devil because he’s the devil, he’s the devil because he’s old.” It figures that the oldest habits for us to recover from are those that we don’t even know are habits.
I’ve made no secret of hiding my faith, or how it’s shaped me in my life. I’ve lived through many Lent cycles (from the “I’m giving up meat” to “I’m giving up TV” to “I’m giving up crayons”). This year is a re-visiting of an old standby for me: fast food. I know, I’ve read Fast Food Nation, I saw the documentary, but sometimes both out of necessity, convenience, and sheer reality (I need a meal for the next week, and only have $10) I just cave to the drive-though.
At first, it wasn’t too bad, given that I’ve given up fast food before. No Jack in the Box, no KFC, no Taco Bell, no McD’s, no problem. No soda, no extra sugars, no nothing that I’m not “supposed” to eat, fine. It’s called the seafood diet for a reason, you’re on Lent and Jesus called us all to be fishers of men, or something like that.
Slowly, though, it dawned on me that I was consuming fast food less out of desire for it, than because it was a habit. There’s an In N Out and several other fast food joints by the Milbrae BART stop, and there’s a McDonald’s in walking distance of the Caltrain by Menlo Park. I’m the type of person who could very easily subsist on dog food if it came to it, even though I do care out it on an abstract level: sure, ground coffee > instant but if desperate times call for desperate measures, I’ll have the instant and just live with it.
I was eating fast food because of my own urges to speed the world up to get me to where I needed to be “on time” and I’d succumbed to the hubris of believing I could ever be late on my Maker’s time. This course I’m on, is one I’ll arrive to with His help. Others might seem to be ahead of me because they’re buying homes, having children, getting married, all those things that we’re taught to want at a young age. All the things I think I want, but feel unprepared for at the moment.
It doesn’t mean my life’s an empty lot. It’s sometimes important to lie fallow, and wait to see what the spring will bring.