Humility (humiliation?) in the free breakfast line

It is my fault we have very little money until payday.  I did it with buying mainly art supplies and snacks.   To the tune of more than $300.  It was probably more than that because I got some birthday money last month that I didn’t add to my spending report.

Yesterday I had to ask the doctor’s office for credit.

I knew we were behind in paying for Small’s hot lunch.  Yesterday she and I packed a lunch for her and I was in the midst of packing one for today.  She told me she wanted to eat the cafeteria food.  I told her that we couldn’t until next week.  She wanted to know why and finally I told her we didn’t have the money to do it.  She offered up her money.  We got it out and counted it.  She had about three dollars.  I showed her what she could give to Haiti if she bought lunch today.  She changed her mind because she wanted to send it all to Haiti.

We have plenty to eat in our house, by they way.  She could have had bacon or toast or fruits, but when I offered to take her to the school’s free breakfast she jumped at the chance.  We waited in line and soon enough she had made a friend.  When they walked through the line the cafeteria lady told Small how much she owed.

I hate that.  Why would they tell that to a five year old?  It just embarrasses them and they usually forget to tell their parents anyway.  Breakfast was free anyway.  Why bring up money at a time like that?

She munched happily away on her freshly baked cinnamon roll and milk.  I waited with her so I could walk her to class.  I looked around at the kids, all makes and models.  I thought about my own prejudices.  Did I used to feel “better” than these families because I fed Small breakfast at home?  Were they really broke all the time, whereas we’re just going through a rough spot.  Did I feel guilty because it was my work that put us here?

Well, it obviously was not a punishment to either one of us to be there.  It may have taken my pride down a few notches, and I need a bit (just a tad) more than that.  Small was super excited to be there, eating, at school.  We left only a few minutes earlier from home than usual, so no skin off my back.

I wished I had the $6.50 we owed, but I don’t.  I’ll make her “snacks” for her to carry to school and eat with the other kids and she can eat with me at home after that.  None of that is really bad news.

But it still feels like it is.  I have a tightness in my throat.  Part of me wants to remember this feeling so I won’t sneak off and go spend $3.50 on an ice cream cone, $12 on a 40% off pad of art paper, or $4 on a thrift store sweater.   Spending feels so good.

Generosity is not that I’m talking about.  Our giving has continued and increased despite all that I have put us through.   If we are so blessed to treat you, please be gracious to us.  We want to.  With Mr. M at the reigns we can afford to do so, too.  I really want to learn how to be frugal, not cheap.

Luke 16:10 says:
He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.

So, make me faithful, God.  I want more of everything.

All that to say.  I don’t know.  No inspiring words from me, again.  But the goodness is that I’m almost through feeling sorry for myself!


2 responses to “Humility (humiliation?) in the free breakfast line

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