I am grateful to God for the strength to finish this time of fasting. It has truly been a one-day-at-a-time journey.
A big thank you to the many who have journeyed with me during these 40 days.
A few deserve special recognition. My spouse Cindy offered daily prayers and a patient and supportive presence throughout. My colleague Johonna Turner quietly fasted with me the first half of this journey and my sister Judy Kiel and many other friends joined in for a day at a time. Many others provided regular encouragement and feedback. And to those blog readers who offered alternative points of view, I learned from your perspectives.
Some provided wonderful gifts of juice – thank you Bill, Lisa, Sarah, Jeremy, Lyndsay, Eva and Judy. And Gerry and Rose Baer invited Cindy and me to their home in Elizabethtown for a delightful juice lunch!
Of special note as well are my son Holden who helped to fashion the blog site; Mohammad Rasoulipour, who created the logo for the site; Ryan Roderick Beiler and Howard Zehr who generously shared photos that I used with blog entries; and Lauren Jefferson and Mia Kivlighan from EMU’s communications and marketing department, who provided wise counsel.
According to WordPress analytics, blog visitors came from 66 countries.
Probably the question I received most often was, “Have you heard anything from the White House?” The answer is “no — at least not yet.” That has not been my expectation.
What did this fast accomplish? It changed me, reminding me of just how deeply held and dissimilar the views of those on the left and right are about President Trump. But wrestling with the Daily Lectionary readings each day also made me more hopeful about God’s readiness to transform and redeem even the most hopeless seeming of situations – if we are willing partners.
What is next? If the aftermath of a similar fast 14 years ago is a teacher, I will spend many years unpacking this experience. As a starter, I hope to develop more and deeper conversations with persons who have very different political views than my own. The well-being of our country and world depends on all of us reaching across these divisions and seeing our common humanity.
With gratitude –
J. Daryl Byler