A Taste of Grace

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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.

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One thought on “A Taste of Grace

  1. I love this. We have lunch buddies at our school. Most of the kids with lunch buddies come to me for reading. When they tell stories about their lunch buddies, it warms my heart. Thank you for taking time and spending it with these kids. They truly will remember it!

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