(I loved this little story. It reminded me of a day when I was walking outside Ft. Worth, Texas. My shoes held up well on my pilgrimage, but I went through a lot of laces. One day, the laces on a shoe busted. I had run out of extra pairs and neglected to get any before this busted. It is very miserable to walk without laces on a shoe when you are carrying a lot of weight. It just messes up your rhythm completely and makes you feel unbalanced. Looking at the top of a hill for a likely store where I might get some, I ducked into some woods to rest a while. When I sat down, there was a pair of rotted, ratty boots right next to my rock. BUT…those ratty boots mysteriously were laced with a nearly new pair of laces. I laced up and was on my way, thankful that I stepped into this little copse of woods – and promising my guardian angel I would pay better attention to the supplies going forward. Also, I thought the painting at the top by Edward Hopper just felt right for this story by a reader, whose pen name is Vera Bryant – CJ)
By Vera Bryant
It had been a tough week. So many things had led to us moving out, and right after buying the groceries for the month. Now we were in a shelter, and I had no clue what to do next. Was this really the end? Was divorce the only answer? I had prided myself, a Catholic convert, on my staunch assertions that at least I was never going to get divorced. Yet here I was, in a women’s shelter with my teenaged daughter, not knowing what I should do or how I should proceed. At least she had stopped cutting herself. That was progress. Still, we had left in a hurry and all the usual structures to life had disappeared.
The spouse was less than helpful. Could we come in the house and collect a few more things, while he was out on a scheduled trip? The word came back: no, we could not. So now it was Sunday, and I was at the electronics store, getting a needed cable for the school-issued tablet. What next? I tried to plan ahead and could not. All I could think was that, after getting the cable, I needed to get my daughter lunch. OK, cable first, then lunch.
Walking back to the car, I saw something on the ground near the car – a ten dollar bill. From where it lay, it was clear the bill had fallen out when the driver got back into the car. I looked around. No movement, no other people. I looked at the bill. No markings, nothing to identify it. Pointless to take it inside for someone to identify. I handed it to my daughter. “Here. Where do you want to go for lunch?”
She picked a place that had just opened up. When we got there, she ordered a burger with bacon and avocado. The clerk asked her, “Do you want to add something to that?” I looked at the register readout: $9.50. “No,” I said. “She’s done.”
I said a prayer of thanks. God had provided, not a minimal meal, but something special. Throughout our 7 weeks in the shelter, He did that, again and again, through a whole myriad of people. It wasn’t pleasant, and it wasn’t painless, but we survived it. And often, the Lord made it clear what that next step ought to be.
So I guess, sometimes, there is such a thing as a free lunch.