For sometime now I have been writing about my vegetarian journey it has been fun to laugh, joke, and commiserate with you all, however on a more serious not I’m not sure I can call this a journey anymore, it now feels like a pilgrimage. I’ve learned a lot about myself for the past few weeks, I have a new found respect and meaning for the words like temptation, strengthen and weakness to name a few. As I reflected on the past month and all of the change it has brought while driving back from Raleigh a few days ago, see I tend to get my deep thinking done while driving, and this was the perfect car ride to reflect on change as the leaves are changing and the days become colder.
I’ve been challenged and wanted to eat meat several times over the course of the past month however this past weekend really tested me in ways I couldn’t imagine nor did I know how to handle them. Like most God fearing North Carolinians I love barbecue – the vinegar, the spices, the pork – YUM – I can’t think of a better meal, until I went vegetarian. Barbecue is spiritual in my mind – I loved it and could never pass up the opportunity to eat it, but this weekend I attended a wedding and the reception was true to the couples North Carolina roots on the menu was barbecue straight from a hog on the cooker, potatoes, coleslaw, baked beans and green beans. Sounds good, right? I’m getting hungry as I type. I enjoyed a plate with every on it minus the pig and coleslaw (yuck). As I sat down to eat with my friend I realized how different this vegetarian lifestyle is, I was the only one not enjoying meat at this event, of course my minds was flooded with questions “maybe I can eat a little bit, what if people think I’m a snob, I hope I don’t offend the bride and groom” these questions are trivial but real and I imagine this is how most vegetarians feel at events where there isn’t anything for us to really eat.
I’ll say this past weekend was the first time I’ve felt different since beginning this pilgrimage and realizing isolating it can feel. While I’m grateful for my restraint and not caving in to enjoy some delicious NC barbecue, I’m also grateful for good health and friends who encourage me when I’m feeling down about this whole vegetarian thing. Once we left the wedding my friend said, “Well, we need to get you some food, I guess…” Thank God for Regina being an understanding voice in that moment because I felt weak and isolated, but she understood.
Lesson from this weekend, stay strong encouragement comes in many different forms.