Loaves and Fishes Multiplied At the Corner Store

In the evening light, I saw the girls cut into the street a block ahead of me, and I felt that surge of sadness that comes over me sometimes when I see young people making short work of their lives.

It’s not like anything in particular stuck out to me about them. Maybe the gothic hair, unnaturally colored. Maybe the way they were going together, good friends on a bad street. Maybe the realization that likely they’ve seen far too much in their short fifteen something years. Maybe the knowledge that I was their age just 25 short years ago.

Also, I was feeling a little discouraged about my own life. This is a struggle I have from time to time, particularly after failing at something. What’s the point of trying, of doing a good job, if I always fail at the end? God can’t possibly have any use for me.

Anyway, the girls brought on a sadness and longing that I couldn’t quite explain, even though I wasn’t sure that God would be able to use me to reach out to them if I did have the chance. They were a block ahead of me at least, so I didn’t have the chance.

The Furry Pink Hat

I had Anina strapped to my back, so I was taking my time. I had decided to try back carry, because she always wants to see everything. In the back carrier, she can peer over my shoulder and supervise the world.

It was a cold night, so I put on the hat Anina is still borrowing from cousin Alaina, 7 years old. Alaina won the hat at her library in Wisconsin, but it was too small for her. So she let Anina have it. A little later, Alaina told her mom that she would like to have the hat back someday, because what if she has a daughter sometime? So Anina and I are doing are best to take good care of the hat so we can return it. It’s warm and cute and people often comment about it.

The downside of back carry is that Anina is kind of out of reach. I can’t wipe her nose or put her hat back on. Also, I’m still trying to train her that she isn’t allowed to grab my hair or veil. Thankfully, when I turned my head, I could see out of the corner of my eye that the hat was still in place. It was too cold to be without one.

The Corner Store

Up the hill we went, across Lexington Avenue, and into the corner store. Marnell was studying so I wanted to get Anina out of the house. Also, I had finished off most of a bottle of root beer, and felt bad that there wasn’t more left for Marnell. So we were on a root beer mission.

There is an amazing variety of things in this small room that serves as the corner store. How big? Maybe 15 x 15? I’m not sure, but it’s small.

And, there were the two girls packed in among the Cheetos and baby wipes. They had collected some snacks and were looking at a case of cheap rings.

I wonder if I should pay for their bill, I thought. Was that what God was impressing on me? Or would they take it as condescension? I went to the back of the store and squeezed in between the last row of shelves and the refrigerators. Two cans of Mug root beer. Okay. Oh, there are a few cans of A&W. Maybe that’s better. I collected three cans and eased toward the counter. The girls had piled the things on the counter and were checking out. Their bill was $16 and some change. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Anina’s pink hat was now resting on my shoulder instead of where it was supposed to be. Of course, it was warm in the store, but we had a bit of walk home in the cold. This was a slight problem.

Encouragement Multiplied Like Loaves and Fishes

I saw the girl in the blond hair sizing me up. As if I wasn’t quite who she was expecting to see in the store.

The girl with the black hair dumped a handful of coins into the metal trough on the counter, then threw in a handful of folded money, not bothering to count to see how it compared to her bill. The cashier unfolded and counted and selected and passed a little money back.

The girls were ready to leave.

“Could you put my daughter’s hat back on?” I asked the girl in the black hair. “I can’t reach it. She doesn’t like it in here, but it’s cold outside.”

She paused for just long enough to make me nervous then said, “Sure.” She went behind me, picked the hat off my shoulder, and put in on Anina. She took some time to get it right. I thanked her, and they were off.

Sometimes I struggle to know what God wants me to do in a given situation. But this time I think he did direct me in the best way, even though it was such a little thing.

I’ll probably never know the details. But maybe He wanted to tell those girls a message that couldn’t be told with a gift. Maybe the black-haired girl was discouraged because she wasn’t meeting up to her expectations about life. Maybe she had failed, and didn’t think there was any hope for her. Maybe she needed to know she could be relied on, even behind someone’s back.

Maybe she was just like me, and needed a little encouragement to keep on.

Amazing that God can use fragments of bread and fish to strengthen multiple people in one moment! Or, in this case, root beer and a furry pink hat.

Kidnapping book update – I mentioned this in last week’s email, but I’ll say it again. Due to a paper shortage, the Haiti kidnapping book will probably be delayed by several months. Predictions are that we may see it in print by August.

Save with the set of 1-3. Click on the photo.

7 thoughts on “Loaves and Fishes Multiplied At the Corner Store”

  1. Love it! You are so talented in your writing and God bless you as you continue to minister in this way!

  2. Is it possible that allowing someone the opportunity to help me both blesses them more and witnesses more strongly of Christ than if I just give of my abundance? …which I think is what you were already communicating, Katrina. I’m just trying to summarize out loud. Thanks again for sharing what God is teaching you.

  3. Being aware of opportunities, even tho we don’t know how they’ll be used by the Lord…thanks for that reminder!

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