“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in”
So many times I have reflected on some of the struggles of life, and it has always prompted me to write. Hopefully these stories bring insight as to what life was like, so you can know of the realities that some underprivileged children live with. Today I would like to talk about Hunger.
When I was in elementary school I remember moving into a trailer that was three doors down (great band name, btw!) from a gas station. One of the constant struggles with each of the seemingly hundreds of moves was that we almost always had very little food, or no food at all, and not one penny to contribute to curving our hunger.
One day my brother and I were home alone, and we were so hungry. It was summer break, so we did not have the option to eat at school, which I always considered to be my saving grace regarding hunger. Sometimes there was food in the house but we were not skilled enough to cook it on our own. Also having electricity was always hit or miss month to month and since we had just moved there it was miss because the money wasn’t there. We both thought that maybe we could go sit at the gas station. If we stay long enough they might give us the cooked food they would otherwise throw away at the end of the day. We also weren’t afraid to take the food from the garbage if it came to that.
We walked down the street and walked into the convenience store. There was a big, green, 4-leaf clover painted on the sign. Seeing it as we walked in, we were hoping for luck in our search to find something to eat. We walked to the fried food container and…well, we just stared through the glass pane. The smell of fried burritos and corn dogs filled the air and made the hunger pains seem worse. We did not make eye contact with the store clerk, but I could feel that she had her eyes on us. We slowly walked over to the one lowly booth they had in the store and sat down. The store clerk said “Can I help you?” We both looked at each other and I hesitantly said, “No, thank you.” She asked, “Are you hungry?” The truth is we were starving, but we didn’t want to tell her, so I quietly, yet assertively stated, “No, we are fine, and we ain’t got the money anyway”.
The store clerk had a daughter who was sitting behind the register with her. She was a blond haired, blue eyed girl, who looked to be about my age. She asked me my name and told me hers. The clerk asked us questions about where we lived and why we were out by ourselves. She asked where our parents were and if they knew we were there. To be honest, most of the time we had no clue where they were or what they were doing. We didn’t have cell phones back then and we had no other legitimate way of reaching them. When I say them, I mean my mom and her boyfriend at the time.
We explained that we just lived right down the streetand that we had walked down so we could use the pay phone. This wasn’t at all the full truth, but we knew that CPS was real, and we were afraid of them being called because someone found out that we were alone with no food in the house. That phone call would have been the death of us, delivered by my mother and her boyfriend. Plus we weren’t there to talk about our home life. We just needed the hunger to go away so we gave whatever answers we could to build a quick relationship that could earn us something to eat.
One reason this day is so profound for me is because the store clerk spent time asking us questions and building a relationship with us. She didn’t just try to get us to leave. The other reason this day was meaningful was because as my brother and I sat at that table, the clerk brought us food! She gave each of us our own burrito and a cup of water! I watched her ring it up at the register and pay for it with her own money.
Two things happened that day, we were fed when we were hungry, and we found a friend. The clerks name was Lynn and her daughter was Alexis. To this day they are still dear friends of mine.
Over the years I have examined life and it’s ups and downs. I have had many people tell me to write a book. Many have asked me to share publicly. The Lord is my strength, and has confirmed over and over that I need to be open to His leading. So, here I am. This is one of many examples of how God uses everyday people to bless our lives over and over again. Over the next several months I will be sharing stories from my journey and I hope to encourage you to see Gods love in those around us.
I am continuing to ask for grace in my financial situation regarding my education, so if you feel led please pray and share. Thank you so much! www.gofundme.com/stephanie-ellison
Simply Encourage Love,