This week at Crossroads, we looked at the hole in our gospel surrounding poverty. The challenge was to take one day this week and eat only rice and beans–a typical relief meal for those in impoverished countries–2/3 c. of rice and 1/4 c. of beans (if I’m not mistaken) with some oil, salt and sugar and some added nutrients.
This is what they receive for ONE DAY.
After being given a little baggie with rice and beans along with instructions as we left church, Lew and I decided to take the challenge yesterday, being the only day we didn’t already have plans for a meal. Sunday evening I cooked the rice that would last us our breakfast and lunch.
Monday morning, Lewie said a prayer that helped set the tone for the day in our recognizing that this was a minuscule way we could somehow relate to the poverty crisis. We are still SO incredibly blessed though, as we also enjoyed a glass of milk (vitamins) and coffee (that might have been breaking the rules, a bit, I’m not sure). Not only are we blessed in our food, but we sat eating our beans and rice in a climate controlled apartment with electricity and not candles.
Mondays I go to yoga over the lunch hour and grab something quick or eat at my desk afterward, so typically my stomach’s a little growly anyway. Yesterday was definitely no exception. Wow…can I even begin to think if my breakfast had been all I would have eaten for an ENTIRE day? The growls began around 11 and continued all during yoga. Maybe that’s why our instructor did some poses that were good for digestion. Let’s just say all the floor poses with your legs in the air were not ideal for this day…moving on.
Eating my beans and rice at my desk was a bit humbling. My office sits above the caf at Georgetown, and yesterday the smells could not have been more tempting. I knew that Lew had persevered over lunch, as his mom had made chicken salad over the weekend and he was passing that up as well.
Last night we had our last meal of rice and beans. This one contained about twice the amount of beans we had at breakfast and lunch and I used brown rice. Oh to actually have the choice of variety.
I was getting the rice and beans ready as Lewie was washing the dishes from the weekend (with clean, hot water) and I just had a lot on my mind…processing how emotional this choice had been, how mentally stimulating, yet in a sobering way. We had talked at breakfast about doing this with our kids once they arrive and thinking about what the statistics would be in 10 years when we do this with them was just overwhelming… It was nice to have a husband to share this with. So many blessings just came flooding over me.
I don’t share our exercise at all to be a pat on our back. Just the opposite. I want to encourage those of you who might have taken the challenge as well that you are not alone. You may be the only one in your family doing this while everyone else feasts and that is much different than our experience. Still, you are not alone in your journey. If you haven’t had your day of beans and rice yet this week, you can do it. If you’re just reading this and not apart of our community, I still would challenge you to get a bit uncomfortable and join us. Post your thoughts if you desire. We will never fully know what hunger is like. We can at least empathize a bit.