A Taste of Grace

A  highlight of my week is a 30 minute lunch with my “lunch buddy” at a local elementary school.  The “Lunch Buddy” program, administered by Big Brothers/Big Sisters, pairs an adult with a kid who needs a good adult role model.

 “Big Brothers” thought I would fit the bill -as the adult.

I was paired with a 6-year-old kindergartner.

Sitting in the school library for our first lunch together several weeks ago, we unpacked our lunches.   I opened my Zip-Lock bag of apple slices.  He opened his Spider Man lunch box filled with three bags of chips, 2 cereal bars, and a Capri-Sun fruit juice.

Maybe he felt sorry for me. “How sad,” he may have thought, “all this man has to eat is an apple.” Because each time he opened a bag of food, before taking some food for himself, he would hold it out to me,  “Mr. Bill (that’s what he calls me – I’m good with that –  “Phil”- “Bill” sound the same), do you want one?”

“Thank-you, but (How do I explain Celiac to a 6 year old?),  I have some food allergies. I’ll just eat my apple.”  Not being able to comprehend eating only an apple for lunch, he persisted.  He unwrapped his cereal bar, tore off a piece, held it up to me, “Can you eat this?”

“No, thanks though, I really can’t.”

He was relentless.

“How about chocolate?  Can you eat chocolate?”

“Yes,  I love chocolate.”

So, like a miner digging for diamonds the little fella dug into his cereal bar with those little 6-year-old fingers until he pulled out a bit of chocolate.  “Here you go,” he said with a beaming smile, “here’s some chocolate for you!”

Forget cross-contamination – a Celiac’s fear.
Forget where those fingers may have been.
How could I say “No” to such a face, to such grace?

Some of the best chocolate I’ve had.

I wonder if Jesus had this boy in mind when he said,

“Most certainly I tell you, unless you turn, and become as little children you will in no way enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3)?

I signed up to be a “lunch buddy” to inspire a kid.  The kid inspired me.