I saw her before I realized that I didn’t want to look at her…a young woman with a tear-stained face and a cardboard sign…”mother of two, lost my job…”
She stood at the driveway of a brand-new, multi-million dollar, chain store. I saw her as I got in the turn lane. Just as I looked away, I saw her tears. I still averted my gaze.
Sitting next to me was our small cooler with supper for Emme, Ellen, and I. The girls made themselves wraps, I made a pb&j. We threw in a bag of grapes and some water bottles. Not much but enough.
I looked away when the light turned green and pulled into a parking spot.
“Don’t make me give her my sandwich!” my heart threatened its Creator. “It’s all I have!”
To say that it has been a thinning and stretching summer might very well be an understatement. I’ve doubted myself, my faith, my God. Quite honestly, I doubted that I even had faith.
I locked the truck door and walked into the store confident that I was having peanut butter for supper. Quickly picking up what I needed, I walked out and saw her silhouette still standing by the highway.
I unloaded my cart and grabbed a bag I had made. I opened the cooler and pulled out the pb&j made with the last bread of the loaf. What kind of person gives away a sandwich made with the heel anyway? The bag of grapes, two water bottles, and one pathetic sandwich went into the bag.
I walked around and got in behind the wheel. A measly pile of one twenty and ten ones were in my line of vision. Book money. Funny thing? That was our double date money for next week….only, fifteen minutes ago, our double cancelled. Into the bag of grapes went the little pile of cash.
I slowly pulled up and rolled down my window.
“It’s only peanut butter and jelly…” I stammered. “It was my supper and its all I have but you can have it.”
“Thank you!” Her tears flowed freely.
“There is a little cash in with the grapes. I’m praying you find a job.”
She thanked me a few more times as I pulled away.
Only I couldn’t pull away.
I drove around the block and went back. I parked my truck and walked over to her.
“My name is Heidi,” I said.
“I’m Eden. It’s nice to meet you, Heidi!” She smiled.
We talked for a minute about her two boys. One two, one a year old. I asked her to join me in sorting school supplies with our local community organization. I told her I had just come to this store to pick up a donation of 3000 shopping bags to be used when school supplies were given away. She said she had just an hour of childcare and then her ride would be back to get her.
I hugged her and invited her to bring her babies and to hang out with some incredible people tomorrow as we pass out school supplies to over 1500 local kids. She said she’d see what she could do and then thanked me again.
I walked back to my truck and before I could unlock it and get in, sobs shook my core. I couldn’t drive for the tears that blocked my vision.
He wrecked me over a pb&j and I realized again that if you have no faith, it can’t be stretched and only stretched faith grows deeper.
Later, a macadamia and white chocolate Cliff bar appeared next to my keys while I was helping with notebooks and pencils. My favorite…I cried again.