Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer?

It is keeping peace and good relations between people,

as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind.

- Prophet Mohammed


Day 6

So, this is my sixth day on this journey and honestly, I don't know what the outcome is going to be or how many times my intentions and reasoning for continuing this project will change. The original concept was that I had realized how selfish and petty I had become and I wanted to rid myself of such behavior. One of the keys to using religion was that it required sacrifice. And sacrifice I have down.

First of all, I supposed to abstain from profanity, so I can't get too worked-up on this post, but let's go down my list of ethics, shall we?

Starting with...

1. I undertake to abstain from causing harm and taking life (both human and non-human).

In other words, no animal flesh and killin'. I haven't intentionally killed anything except for mosquitoes since I was a little boy, so that's no big deal. In fact, I had a really emotional experience when I was 13 that made killing pretty much impossible for me. I was canoeing in Canada -just north of Minnesota- and was sitting by myself on a rocky embankment in the sun. It was and still is one of the most beautiful and tranquil places I've ever been in my life. The rock bluffs, calm clear water and wide blue skies still are clearly etched in my memory. While I was pondering whatever it is that a 13 year old ponders, a lonely ant scampered out of a narrow crack in the rock and made its way over to where I was sitting. He fearlessly marched towards me.

Being the intrepid naturalist that I was back then, I placed my hand in his direct path hoping he would hop on for a ride. He didn't though. He stopped just short of my pinky. He didn't turn away or look for an alternate route like every other insect tends to do, he just that there, staring me down. I moved my hand. He followed it. This game continued for awhile until I decided that he needed my help (remember: I was 13). Eventually, we decided that I should build him a protective wall around the crack that he surfaced from and together, we went to work; I got the supplies and built the wall and he acted like the foreman.

Just as the project was finally coming together, I lost track of him. I thought he might have gone back into the crack while I was collecting tiny twigs and moss, so I decided to halt work until I located him. While searching for him, I lost my balance a bit and thrust my hand on the stone to catch myself. I heard a little cracking sound, so I lifted my palm. There, on my hand, was the broken corpse of my ant; his helpless body crushed under the careless weight of my 13-year old hand. I cried. Out loud, right there on that island in middle of a lake, I sobbed for the loss of life. It was a life that didn't need to be lost; a life that could have been much longer. Still, fourteen years later, I lament that day.

I haven't eaten meat now in seven days. I don't miss it, nor do I crave it.


  1. You have never told me that story. I loved that. You have always had a huge heart and I so appreciate that part of you.

  2. Yes, a huge heart indeed. One of my guys would have done and felt the same, I am sure.

  3. I'm feeling a vague fondness for you George, for the first time. It's unsettling.