I have failed. I am truly, sincerely sorry. I apologize to those of you on this site who have fasted as you’ve promised, to those of you who have worked so hard to make this site the amazing place of solidarity that it is, and to those of you who thought of me as someone who could stand by her word.
I have learned a lot from this attempt to fast, much of it about myself and my own limitations, and none of that is appropriate for this blog. Suffice to say, however, I am grateful for the opportunity the fast gave me for some much needed reflection on the role of food in my life, and on my flaws both large and small.
But, this is truly not about me.
Here is what this IS about: the difficulties of being thrust against your will from the only home you’ve ever known, of having had to walk for many miles and days across an unforgiving landscape, of having to contend with fear and physical pain at every step–not only your own but those of the people you love most in the world— the strain of having to try to protect your children from your own position of powerlessness, of the constant gnawing anxiety and uncertainty that comes with not knowing what tomorrow might hold for you, or where you will lay your head in a week, whether or not you will ever be able to go back to your home and the home of your ancestors, and whether this nightmare will last for a week–a year–a decade–a generation–or forever.
And all this you do while contending with a pain in your stomach. The cure for this pain is simple, and one you know well. But the cure is far off and not in your power.
All this you do knowing that your children feel the same pain you do, perhaps worse.
All this you try to do with the spirit of love and generosity required of you as a parent. And even perhaps with a sense of humor or optimism. It may sound impossible, yet in the people I have known who have suffered exactly all of these things, I have seen great humor and optimism and while these things have always astounded me, I now view them with newfound awe and respect.
I failed with none of these millstones around my neck. Would I be one of the bodies littering the road on the walk to the camp? How, then would my children have fared, and who would have cared for them in my absence? How many people and personalities were “selected out” along the way?
I have now come to see the camps as not only overflowing with the men and women I see, but also with the ghosts of the ones like me who never got there. I am riddled with weaknesses I never really needed to reflect upon because the circumstances of my life have never brought me into contention with them. I am buoyed by luxuries and comforts so prevalent I cannot even see them. I am lucky beyond measure. I thank God for my blessings.
And I recommit to do my best by these women and men–they deserve food in their bellies, roofs over their heads and peace for their families.