Thursday, May 26, 2011

Smoking and Fasting

I have a confession to make, and my parents are not going to like hearing this.  I started smoking again.  I had been smoking, on and off, since I was 18.  I've previously quit for probably over a year and a half.  And throughout that time, I would sometimes crave one when I would see somebody doing it in public, or when I would see somebody smoking in a movie.  I would simply resist the urge, because in the States, it's kind of rare to see people smoking in public, or in movies.  But in Korea, it's everywhere.  Everyday when I walk to and from school, I see several people smoking.  People are allowed to smoke in most restaurants, so whenever I am eating, I see it.  A lot of my Korean male coworkers do it.  They have a spot on a balcony on the fourth floor of our building with a nice view of the street.  And every time I would see somebody smoking, I would say to myself, "Man, would I love to have one of those."

I gave in to the urge last week.  I bought a pack of cigarettes for 2,500 won, which is around $2.20.  When I quit smoking in the States, a pack of cigarettes costed around five dollars.  I bought a pack, smoked one or two, then realized what I was doing.  "I can't believe I am doing this," is what I would say to myself.  I would then put out the cigarette, walk back up to my apartment, walk into the bathroom, pour the remaining cigarettes into the toilet, and flush them.  But the next day the urge would come back, and it would be stronger.  So I would walk to the convenience store, spend another 2,500 won on another fresh pack, light up a few, then realize what I was doing again, and flush.  I went through three cycles of this, and flushed 7,500 won down the toilet.  How sickening.

I realized that I needed to do something, and that I was unable to do it myself.  I've heard several sermons on the power of fasting while watching the christian networks back home in Louisiana.  And I've done it a few times before, and knew this was the right time to do it again.  I started my fast on Tuesday morning, and ended it late Thursday night.

The first day is not difficult.  Anybody can go a day without food.  What is difficult on the first day is turning down food from those who offer it to you.  I've never realized how much people offer me food daily until I consciously decide to go without it.   And the best dishes always seem to be offered while fasting.  At work, they handed out these chocolate covered butter pastries that looked absolutely amazing.  Another difficulty is explaining the concept of fasting to those who aren't particularly spiritual, especially when you turn down their offer of food, and you have previously accepted in every other instance.

Fasting becomes painful probably around lunchtime during the second day.  Whenever you sit for an extended period of time, you become lightheaded when you suddenly stand.  You begin to notice that you have very little energy, and that the mere act of walking becomes more strenuous.  The only thing that I consumed during my fast was water.  My mouth seemed constantly dry on the second and third days.  On the third day, my calf muscles seemed to want to cramp from the mere act of walking to and from school, and from standing all day long teaching students.  The hunger definitely begins to become painful on the second day.

After finishing school on Thursday night, I had plans of eating an enormous Korean feast, but I was too tired to walk anywhere before eating.  I went home cooked up some ramen, added some dumplings for the extra protein, ate it, then took a multivitamin, brushed my teeth, and went to sleep.  I woke up at 11:30 this morning.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:16-18, "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." 

As painful and difficult as fasting is, I definitely felt God's presence while doing it.  I can't explain it fully, but I had an inherent assurance that he was near.  Why else would you fast?  You do so to seek God, and to let him know that you are serious, and sincere.  While fasting, I spent more time praying, because sometimes, you have to pray for God's strength to get through it.  And fasting is good for the mind.  I still crave cigarettes, but I know now that I have the strength to resist the urge.  If I can go almost three days without eating, I can definitely resist the urge to buy a pack of cigarettes.

Here is another Korean beauty.  I watch K-dramas.  I have only a basic idea of what's going on from observing the nonverbal, but I don't mind, because the actresses are usually beautiful.  I don't know the name of the shows, or the actresses.  The amount of times I watch a particular K-drama is directly correlated to the attractiveness of the actresses.  There is a particular show that is one of my favorites.  And this lady plays the main character.  Again, these images are not mine.  I downloaded them from various websites via Google Images.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you, Chris, about the smoking. I'm glad that you found the Lord's blessing for your faithfulness.

    Okay, who's the girl and what show is she in? Min would love her! Can you get the site " on your computer? I have learned quite a bit of Korean word using that site. It has English subs. I watch it on my computer just about 24/7. Ah, my Bae Yong Joon and Hyun Bin! LOL! Stay cool! Ms. Pam