Meatless Friday

In the hubbub of everyday living, I tend to forget who I am. There are bills to pay, things to get done, meals to cook, groceries to buy and a thousand other things that run through my mind from the moment I awake in the morning until the second I fall asleep at night. Caught in this mad rush to go through each day, I also lost sight of who I want to be. A mechanical being is what I have become, doing things in set ways day in day out every day of the week. The humanness in me was slowly being chipped away by these daily drudgeries.

There were also times when I got arrogant. I wittingly let little accomplishments get to my head believing that I alone can achieve those feats without needing help. I allowed myself to grow into a self-centred and vain person. Those are not good traits that I want to possess. The times that I realised my follies, I felt ashamed of it but they were soon forgotten and repeated. Old habits die hard.

My ego needed to be pricked constantly to bring me back down to earth. The innocence that I used to possess had to be rejuvenated and the perfunctory temporarily discarded. These I must do to bring the simplicity back into my life again. I discovered no better way than following one simple rule of abstinence. I have been observing Meatless Fridays for the past three weeks. Meatless Friday is an age-old Roman Catholic tradition that is not strictly adhered to anymore now. For me, there is more to it than its religious significance.

It takes a conscious effort to become a vegetarian once a week. This deliberate self-denial brings realisation to the question mark of whom I am and who I want to be. As I tuck the vegetables into my mouth, I am reminded of the purpose I am eating this meal. I am constantly prompted to thank God for the little blessings that come my way every so often, to practice humility in my dealings with everyone and to recognise my limitations. Vegetarianism teaches me patience and self discipline, two virtues which I yearn for in myself.

Forgoing meat brings back the essence of humanness into my life. I am reminded that every life is sacred and should be treated with respect irrespective of species and whatever their purpose to us the Divine had intended. It is also an opportunity to give my body a rest from the other unhealthy meals that I have been having for the rest of the week. For a moment the chores that had been depressing my days to no end seemed to melt away. For one day in the week, I can feel alive again. Worries are furthest away from my mind. Life has become simple once more. If I can, I will be skipping like a little child come every Friday.

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

5 thoughts on “Meatless Friday”

  1. i go meatless every friday. 🙂
    but you are right, this has not been a strict practise in these days. example, if on a friday a friend happen to invite me for her wedding or birthday celebration where there’ll be meat, it’s ok to take meat.

    anyway it’s no point when one fast from something one doesn’t like. i mean if one doesn’t like meat, the significance of fasting from meat is lost.

  2. Lucia,
    You must have meant abstinence as opposed to fasting. I have to disagree with you on that. When you abstain from something you do not like, there is still a point to be made. You are making a conscious attempt to fulfill whatever purpose that abstinence was intended for, be it religious or for health reasons. Not liking it makes it easier but does not diminish its significance.

  3. yes i mean abstinence, and i’m talking on the religious point of view.

    i disagree on what you disagree. 🙂
    i still feel when one abstain from something one does not like (not only eating but other things like watching tv), the significance of abstinence is totally gone.

    usually when one abstain from eating something or from doing something, it is sort of sacrifice/penance, but if you, for example do not like chicken at all and you abstain from eating chicken, where is the sacrifice/penance?

  4. Lucia,
    As I mentioned in my entry, abstinence on Fridays for me is not only for religious purposes but for health and as a form of escapism from the drag of the other days of the week. I do not fancy eating meat but I need the protein in controlled doses for the nutrition it provides. In this sense, going meatless on Fridays is significant to me.

  5. ok, peter, yes in your case it is different so i understand the significance for you. however in other cases, like me for example, what i said stand.

Comments are closed.