Over the past few days I have been hard pressed to maintain my multitasking fast.

As I rushed from work to the hospital on Tuesday upon hearing of my dad’s heart condition, there were many arrangements to be made, prayers to request, news to be broken, and the hour and a half in the car made for the perfect opportunity to make those phone calls without delaying my arrival at the hospital.

The next couple of days, emails, meals, phone calls, conversations, text messages, and coffee-drinking all happened at the same time as we sat vigil in the hospital and tried to keep many people posted on my dad’s progress. Even now that I am back home, there are many, many phone calls and emails and text messages to make and receive to keep myself and others up to date on how things are going.

I was tempted to feel guilty, try harder, make confessions, give up. You know how it goes when you’re failing. But then I remembered the purpose of the fast — to help lead me through this season of wilderness wandering — and it seemed that the wilderness was well upon me even without it. And mostly, I just thought of Jesus and his disciples picking grain.

All of the gospel narratives recount the tale of Jesus and his disciples walking along the edge of the field picking grain when they were hungry. That’s why the farmer left the edges unharvested, after all. But the problem was it was the Sabbath. And the pharisees had laws about doing work on the Sabbath.

Jesus had a message for them, though. Man was not made for the Sabbath, but Sabbath was made for man. And I think you could just as easily substitute fasting or prayer or attending church or many of the rituals of our faith. They are not an end in themselves; they all are to help us know Jesus better. When it comes down to it, Jesus would rather us just walk with him than stick religiously to our rites.

So, during this new wilderness our family is walking through with my dad, I am doing my best to continue to do one thing as a time. And the quiet that that brings has been good for my soul at times. But I also feel a lot of grace. I wasn’t made for fasting; fasting was made for me.

Please continue to pray for my dad. This evening has been tough, and he is feeling very discouraged and fatigued. Also, there is some talk about also “installing” a permanent pacemaker.