Comfort Food with a Stranger…

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cracker-barrelLast night my husband, oldest son, and I went to dinner at Cracker Barrel.  The youngest is at camp for the week.  When we were about to turn in to the parking lot, a teenager walked across the street right in front of us.  Not close enough to hit him, but close enough that I had to slow way down not to hit him.  He kind of smiled, acknowledging that he cut it a little too close.

We parked and went in the restaurant.  We were seated… right next to the same kid.  My mom brain started thinking… this kid is a teenager, he walked here, he’s eating alone.  Just noticing the facts.  We were three people at a table for four, right next to him.  I’d like to say that I was overly kind and invited him to sit with us, but I didn’t.  Usually, I am the one that doesn’t like for people to be alone, but it never occurred to me to invite him to our table.

Funny thing, he asked us if he could sit with us.  He explained that he was by himself and didn’t want to eat alone.  Of course, I immediately said “yes!”  Then, internally wondered why I hadn’t asked him to begin with. Again, it never occurred to me to do so.  And, my husband might have looked at me strange if I had.  I was also amazed at the courage and boldness that this kid had to ask strangers if he could eat with them.  He was young high school age.  When I was his age, I would’ve died before going somewhere alone to eat and if that didn’t kill me, asking someone if I could join them surely would have!  I was never brave.

This young man was full of conversation.  Turns out he was at gymnastics practice right across the street.  He was between classes and was hungry.  I asked where he lived and he said the same community area where we live.  Naturally, I asked if he attended church.  After his “no,” I invited him to ours.  He and my son talked about school and kids they both knew.  It was delightful and weird.  The weird part being that we weren’t really close to where we both live, didn’t know each other, but here we were sharing a meal, and having good conversation.

I realized a few things last night…

  • Most people don’t like to be alone.  Even if they say they do, we are made to fellowship with others.
  • You may come from totally different circumstances, but food brings people together.  It won’t kill you to have a meal with a stranger.
  • I may seek out someone alone and ask them to join us.  They might say no, but at least I gave the opportunity.  They might say yes, and we might meet someone totally awesome.
  • Even when you choose to go to dinner with your family instead of going to church on a Wednesday night, God will still use you.

“Keep on loving each other as brothers.  Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”  Hebrews 13:1-2