Friday, July 20

The Hand Which Bears All Nature Up

My sister’s friend Kelly has been thin her entire life; my sister works like a dog to stay trim. They were talking one day about how Kelly manages to keep her svelte figure.

“What do you eat all day?”

“Ermm, I don’t know,” Kelly answered. “Whatever. Sometimes I just forget to eat. I guess I don’t pay much attention.”

“You don’t pay attention?!”

“No. I just don’t think about it.”

“Are you joking? While I’m eating one meal, I’m sitting there planning my next meal!”

* * * *

When I was young we attended church...rarely. If we went to church at all, it would be because we were visiting my grandparents, or they were spending a Sabbath with us. But it didn’t take me long to figure out my favorite part of sacrament meeting. I’m told that we parked ourselves on our pews one Sunday, and when the announcements were taking too long, I asked in a loud voice: “When are they serving the refreshments?”

* * * *

Thus began my (and my sister’s) life-long habit of plotting life around refreshments. And thus I now find myself trying to decide how I’ll spend my post-contest food life. Will I stay raw vegan? Will I eat cooked food again? Will I eat animal by-products? Will I eat fish? (Hey, Catholic husband: Explain again how it is that fish isn’t meat?) Will I light into a scrumptious 7-11 meal of chili dogs, donuts and Slurpees?

* * * *

More about the revelation thing. I have a favorite hymn: How Gentle God’s Commands (Number 125 in the hymnal, if you’re following along).

God speaks to me. God speaks to you, too, I suspect. That voice is “heard” in quiet promptings, new insights, bits of wisdom, reminders of things you once knew, and recognition of God’s “tender mercies” that might otherwise seem like nothing more than fortuitous coincidence. Sometimes God’s voice comes in dreams, sometimes in whispers, sometimes in discernable words.

So in this way I acquire bits of information as I pray and meditate, one bit of which is that I will live a very long life. Clear words. Unmistakable. It’s a conditional promise, I know, but it’s one I’m banking on. (Literally. I cancelled my life insurance.)

As I’ve mulled those words over the past couple of years, I’ve inquired about the conditions required of me, in order for the promise to be fulfilled. The answer came quite quietly, and without even a bit of pressure: “You could stop eating meat.” If I want to. Or not. My choice. But I must say: Gentle admonitions are the most difficult to ignore.

So my post-contest diet won’t involve eating meat. It can’t. And by extension, eating animal by-products, which I know darned good and well are produced under pretty inhumane conditions, is equally tough to justify.

A fundamental tenet of my religious life is a bit of doctrine called the Word of Wisdom, which advocates a diet based on fruits, veggies, herbs, and grains. Sure, God made meat  available to us to get us through famines and winters...but since I’ve never even met anyone who has spent a winter without central heating, I have a difficult time under that doctrine justifying cow consumption.

So here’s the bottom line: Chili dogs, out. Ice cream, out. Plant-based diet: Obvious. Will I stay 100 percent raw? I might. I’m still mulling that one. But yeah, I’m pretty sure I’m now a life-long vegan. I don’t know how I’d look myself in the mirror anymore if I were to fry myself up a side of pig. Just can’t do it.
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And here it is, in Portuguese: Deus Nos Rege Com Amor.