It's the 28th day out of the 46 in Lent. (Wait a minute, you say, I thought Lent was 40 days. Actually, it's 40 days not counting Sundays. And thus, whether one keeps the fast on Sundays or not is controversial.)
Lent is a little more than halfway through, and even though Brandon and I have not been taking our fast all that seriously (we decided in advance to break it for a few special occasions), it is beginning to get tiresome. So I thought it would be good for me to reflect on why I'm doing this.
A few years ago, we found out that the Eastern Orthodox give up eating meat, dairy, eggs, fish and oil during Lent (pretty much--their rules are actually more complicated, but there's no need to go into that now). We were so impressed by their show of self-discipline, we decided to try giving up just meat, dairy and sweets. We found it was miserable, but possible. And then for some reason we decided to do it again the next year. And again this year.
Anyway, I think the fast is a good idea because, although in theory I value moderation, I don't actually practice it. I greedily put more food on my plate than I need. I eat too many sweets, and if the food is really good, I eat past the point of fulness.
I tend to forget that fasting in Lent does not warrant gorging myself all the rest of the year. The need for self-discipline does not end on Easter Sunday. I am disciplining myself more austerely now so that I can continue to discipline myself, but more leniently, after Lent is over.
I must say, now that I've written it out, the idea of eating moderately all the time sounds very bleak and awful to me, and in fact, that's not what I value at all. My true ideal is eating moderately most of the time, and then totally pigging out on a few special occasions (e.g. Easter, Thanksgiving, or an unspecified day on which I may be able to eat fried clams at Woodman's of Essex again).