He buttons his shirt-jacket bottom to top. I watch as he walks beneath this upstairs window, one boot forward, then the other, head down into wind, buttoning as he strides, securing himself against wild gusts.

He always buttons this way.

I think I should.

It lines things up from end goal as start. How often I go neck downward instead, only to see my ends don’t meet, and I must start again!

It’s like how to fast, I think. Start at the end goal, and work from there. Line up time and activity from priority to the rest…

And I did it! And I wasn’t even realizing…


A Saturday.

I’m not thinking “fasting” at all. I’m thinking free day, extra hours to spend with Him, alone with Him, soaking in the beauty of His holiness, listening closely to the words He speaks, has always spoken, letting the rest all go loose and away.

If only it would.

I settle early, very early, in upstairs study. It’s only half-past-four. I want to beat the day, beat the noisy rooster’s rousing…

But low roar of wind rolls all around, outside these windows, sometimes fading to pianissimo, sometimes making sudden crescendo, with whistles and clacks and bangs and clangings, and in between, low moaning and groaning. The moans haunt, the crescendos interrupt and intrude. And when the wind rattles windows, it rattles me, too.

And under all that muffling, the rooster, yes, already, crows his “hallelujahs!”

But I continue, just share my sensations and misgivings in my prayers…

Loud report of loose doorknob startles. Steps on wooden floor resound, rich baritone “Good morning” spears right through the meager door.

It is a grace, a gift, that hello, and I respond, and thank my God, and then try to continue…

Steps on stairs,  clatter of dishes just below (this farmhouse is cracked wood and creaky, with hollow walls and closet spaces that serve as megaphones).

Every plonk! of potato tidbit dropping into empty metal pot in empty metal sink (he boils these, to feed his chickens…), every opening and closing of doors, every clink of china in cupboards, they all dart up here to bid me hello like little children, in and out.

This is quite a noisy silence! And I’m an auditory person. Here’s the mode in which my distractions lurk, ready to spring surprise.

I consider leaving here to seat myself in a quieter spot. Bedroom floor, by my trusty “prayer window”? — where the draft within from wind without makes real breeze across wood boards? I stay put, hoping for activity to cease.

Steps on stairs. Knock on door, baritone drawling a slow announcement: Love has brought me coffee. And naturally I reply “come in” and how sweet this is and it is love and grace and calls for thanks, and the rooster’s crowing again outside this left-hand, wind-rocked window, and the gale is even shaking the house.

“But the LORD was not in the wind…”

And so the thank you’s, to man and God, and now I have coffee. But that’s not really what I want. I want silence, and well, yes… a fasting. Because I want “Closer!” to my God. And oh, do they make rooster muzzles?!

The minutes roll. The hours. And in them, quiet finally comes. Even wind and rooster settle, and God is near enough to feel, and all else drops away and it is good, so good, thank You, God. A feast! Feast on His word, and presence, His still small voice!

I glance later at a clock. Time has rolled now to 10:30! I do the math. Six hours since I rose! And I consider: all I had was a sip of coffee — in how many hours since food last night? and even now I’m not yet hungry, except for more of Him.

Is this not a fast? Buttoned bottom upward? And a satisfying fast.


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11 thoughts on “Backing into Fasting

  1. Just last night I was reading, “O God, you are my God: earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water…. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.” (verses from Psalm 63)
    Yes, He is so much better than food….and yes, I do believe it is a fast. PTL
    Thank you,

  2. Darnly, I love that Psalm! And Amen, PTL — and thank you for uplifting, encouraging words!

    1. Well, Laura, turning his crows into “hallelujahs” in my mind was my way of trying to deal with their disruption: make them into worship echoes. A bit of a stretch, but it helped. 😉 Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Blessings to you!

  3. Nice! Very nice!

    “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” (Isaiah 53:1-2)

  4. Amen, Joe. Such appropriate scripture! Such great, important truth! Love those verses. Thanks.

  5. Oh, I think this is the only way I ever manage to fast – meaningfully, that is. I can intentionally give things up all I want, but that never makes me focus on Him. I have to start with the focus, and then the giving up just comes naturally, because I find that He’s so much better than all the silly things I didn’t want to part with. I’m so glad you shared this – and I’m glad you found Him in your bottom-up fast! God bless!

  6. Hi Sylvia – you write beautifully. Fasting is not something I do much because I don’t think I am in that place where I do it for the right reasons. wonderful post. thanks for linking up again. I love seeing you there 🙂
    God bless

  7. You are wise in this, Tracy. Finished with my fasting exploration now, I think any future fasting for me is going to be the “backing into it” kind. Thanks for visiting — and for the link-up. I love being there! 🙂 Blessings to you as well!

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