It's fast and testimony Sunday tomorrow at church. I really like this particular tradition of my church, so I couldn't tell you why or how it was that I managed to go all of 2006 without fasting--but I did. I guess I was so wrapped up in trying to survive all the work I heaped on my own head that I couldn't keep straight which day of the week it was, much less which particular Sunday of the month it was. I would go to church and it would become clear that it was a testimony meeting and I would sigh . . . unprepared again.
It happened to me again on the 7th. I went to church and it was fast and testimony Sunday and I had eaten. I didn't feel too badly about eating because, honestly, it's not about eating. It's about fasting and growing closer to God--which involves not eating, but is not about eating or not eating. I just missed that feeling that you get when you go to a testimony meeting fasting. It brings you closer to God, and it also brings you closer into the fold of the congregation. Even though noone ever talks about eating or not eating on fast and testimony Sunday. (In fact, it's frowned upon.) So I decided on the 7th that somehow or other I would remember this Sunday.
(As an aside, my attendance last year fell to an all-time low since I reactivated five years ago. This was definitely because of my hyper-focus on work, made worse by the afternoon meeting time. When our ward returned to the morning meeting slot, I resolved to fix my poor attendance problem and the only Sunday I missed in January was the one where Milo was sick. COMPLETELY unrelated, I also decided that this was as good a time as any to try--really for the first time since I joined the church many, many years ago--to do an honest job of keeping the Sabbath. And while I was at it, I'd promised my Bishop that I would do something about my poor scripture reading habits. Which, if you're going to actually make the time to read the scriptures, you might as well fix your poor praying habits. Which, somehow, led to me doing night-time prayers with the twins--which seems to have rubbed off on Max and has led to HIM doing a few night-time prayers. ALL of this goes against my number one rule of habit change, which is don't change more than one bad habit at a time. Focusing on ONE thing at a time leads to a much better success rate. It's the folks with ten resolutions at the end of December that I just want to hug and say, "No, no. You're fine! You'll be fine. Just pick ONE. In a few months, pick ONE more, etc., etc." I'm 38 now. I've learned one or two things in this lifetime. "Don't bite off more than you can chew," is one of them. [I watched Milo eat a cupcake today and he--he has NOT learned this one yet.] But every time I sit down to think of which to let slide for now . . . I can't choose. I really feel BETTER for having gone to church. I am a better PERSON if I have a day of honest rest and focus on family and faith. Reading scripture makes me feel like my life has a greater PURPOSE than textbook writing and bill paying. Praying keeps me from feeling burdened by my blessings. And fasting--the feeling I get from fasting is like earning interest on all of that.)
So I did remember. I did remember although I still did a kind of messy job of applying the knowledge because the twins had a birthday party that didn't get over until 12:30, we didn't get home until 1:00, I didn't get to actually eat lunch myself until 2:30 . . . it was 4:00 when I knelt down to pray to begin my fast. But I immediately felt a WHOLE lot better after I did. Then, I went back to my computer, read the scripture for the day, and got back to work. During little work breaks, I cast on another preemie hat. And here--this was really the point of the whole post, but I felt it needed all the back story, the odd feeling of vulnerability I get when I want honestly to change but am fearful of . . . I don't know what--all that is mixed up in these thoughts--so I'm working on this preemie hat and I'm thinking, well, really PRAYING with every little stitch, about this tiny baby boy. I'm knitting for a 2-lb-er. A little boy. I know he is the only survivor of a set of triplets and that his mother lost most of her own kidney function during the pregnancy. That's all I know. His mother has a friend who loves her and this friend posted a request for knit preemie hats on a mothering board I frequent and I offered to send the ones I'd already knit for my Cousin-in-law and she sent me her address. But then I got out my tape measure and realized that as usual (since my children have freakishly large heads) I'd knit them bigger than I intended. They're probably going to be perfect for my cousin-in-law, whose baby is still safely in utero and probably already more than 2 lbs there. But I would need to quickly whip-up some new hats for a 2-lb baby boy. Unfortunately, the only honest-to-goodness deadline I had all week was yesterday, so I didn't have three hours to put aside to knit a hat--which is all it takes at the most to knit a hat this small. So I just finished the first hat during the birthday party and here I am working on the second hat.
And praying over this baby. So I wish I had a name for him, but we'll just call him 2-lb baby boy, and if you are praying and fasting or not fasting but still praying, I hope you'll include him in your prayers. His mother means for him to live and herself to heal enough to raise him. If God does not have some other purpose for this boy, I know He can and will hear our prayers. Join me in this prayer tonight? I want to send the mother hope and comfort. Whoever and wherever she is. I like that about God. He is not the Post Office. You can say, "I think you know who I mean," and He does.