The morning started off with a delicious hot bowl of oatmeal with bananas and raisins. I then had some yogurt with a cut up green apple in it. After savoring my glass of water, I marked the time down and thus it began. The 48 hour challenge with no food or water. The time was 8:22am on Friday.
First off, God is so good. There wasn’t much that was easy in this challenge, but somehow I pushed through.
In addition, for 24 hours, I went technology free, wallet free, and I committed to and completed 14 hours of community service in 24 hours.
Why this challenge though? I’m a “challenge yourself junkie” and I thought this challenge would really teach me a lot about self control, integrity, being thankful for what I have, and to see how far you can push the body and mind.
The first 24 hours of this challenge went by without any concerns really. It was Friday, so the first 24 hours I stayed in the house to finish my work and take care of a couple of errands but the next 24 hours was when it started to get tough. Pretty much every hour something came up that was new and unexpected. I documented my journey through a journal I kept too.
Most notably, hour 36, was the toughest. I was getting to one of the parks to get rested up after picking up some trash and there was just this nagging sensation that was telling me, “Quit now, you’ve made it far enough bitch. You can always do this again another time but for now 36 hours is enough.” At this point, I had lost my ability to swallow and I hadn’t figured out how to cope with this sensation that I’ve never felt before. So, I actually got a little nervous and really thought about ending the challenge. It wasn’t until I reminded myself the “why” part. I knew I wasn’t done and could keep going.
I really needed to figure this swallowing thing out though, because the pain was starting to get to me. It wasn’t until about an hour later when I finally figured it out… “Don’t try to swallow. Also, keep your teeth clenched and breath in and out through your nose.” This made things a hell of a lot better the rest of the way, but… it also meant no talking.
Throughout walking around and picking up trash or what I like to call them, “street jewels,” I encountered a lot of different situations. The first one was a lovely group of people by the train station who asked me where the restaurants were in town. They looked like they hadn’t been to this side of the river ever. I directed them happily though and watched as they departed with eagerness to find a good spot to eat. Next, while I was on Washington Ave, a man came out and started to talk to me about his desires to give back to the community. I told him about the group in town that picks up trash and he was all in. So I picked up a recruit. Next, while near the interstate I found a downed wire, that was very thin and hard to see from a distance. I went into a local pharmacy and called the cops to check it out. I also cleared out an area littered with trash so a father could take a picture of her daughter on a park bench.
At hour 43 I experienced something I didn’t prepare myself for. It was around 2:30 in the morning when I was reading the Bible and then writing my journal when… a cop pulled up. To say the least, I think the cop was just extremely confused what he was looking at. Almost immediately, when I tried to get up and stretch, he resulted to fear and intimidation when he exclaimed, “What are you doing out here?” he raised his voice and said, “Sit down!” The rest of the conversation was odd. I think the guy was just determined to find out I was doing something illegal and unethical other than what I told him I was doing which was journaling, reading, and picking up trash.
To be fair, if I was in his shoes I would’ve been confused too, to find someone reading and writing on a picnic table off of the interstate in a strip mall. I got it, but sometimes people just really can not get themselves to come to reality. The truth is hard. So, he finished his job of doing a background check on me, I was clean and didn’t have any warrants out for my arrest, and he was off. Not before trailing behind me on the interstate for a few minutes and watching me pick up some trash.
After that, I filled up 3 garbage bags on a 400 yard strip of the highway, and proceeded back to town.
To finish the journey off I went to church. The 7:30am service. It was great to end the challenge in church too and being with God who helped me so much through that painful hour and keeping my mind on track. Although, halfway through the mass I had to step out and stretch out my back, which was in excruciating pain.
When I got back to my place I did one final journal entry, stating at the end of it, “I’m here though and this journey taught me to be thankful for things like swallowing and breathing.”
The crazy part about this challenge is that when I got back into my apartment I didn’t rush in and eat any food or drink any water. I actually had lost the desire for that. I just sat down and realized… I got used to the feeling.
I took a shower first and then had an ice cold glass of water. I then did my reading for the day and then after that I dug into a steaming hot bowl of oatmeal. It was satisfying for sure, but I expected an almost desperate need to eat which I didn’t have
Anyways, above it all, I learned how to trust. Trust, that everything will be alright and that God is with you. Also, I learned to focus. With needing to finish 14 hours of community service, I needed to constantly keep in mind when I was resting, reading and writing that I had a mission and that I couldn’t spare much time or I would risk not completing the mission. Rest, learning the power of this word was crucial during this challenge. In total, in 24 hours I probably only laid down for an hour total out of the 4 or so resting periods that I had, but that time was crucial for me to complete this challenge. Those few times when I just layed down on my back and rested my body was so relieving and gave my body the strength back it needed to keep going. With my back condition to it became more crucial, because during those rest periods I stretched and did some abdominal exercises to also get back some of my strength. With that desire to win and win quickly, I had to acknowledge that I couldn’t do the 14 hours straight through. So another thing I learned was patience. Patience, is one of the hardest things I’ve had to come to grips with over the past year. When I set my mind to something I sometimes forget that everything I do isn’t going to be quick. Coming to grips that things will take, days, weeks, months, and even years is hard for me to acknowledge. But I’m getting better and I will continue to work on that ever challenging word… patience.
Throughout this challenge there were a few times where a few times I was like, “let’s stop now, you’re done, stop, you don’t need to do this.” During the process of deciding to do this challenge and while I was in it, I was following my instincts and nothing else.
Always challenge yourself. It’s up to you to find out what those challenges are.
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” – Anonymous