A Small Kindness from Detention

Recently, I was visiting with a young man (14) in a secure facility-group home. He and I chit-chatted for about an hour. We talked about who he was and what kind of personality he has–what kind of work or career would suit his very leader-y and playful self! Although I didn’t say it out loud, because no teenager wants to hear these words, I thought, “You have so many pages of your days as yet unwritten. You will find something if you let yourself.”

After our talk, he went into the kitchen while I organized my stuff and got ready to leave. Then I went  back to the kitchen to let him know how proud I am of him. After all, he has known me for about a month now and he is willing to sit with me, do service  community hours, and to go to a church party! Hey, my own kids won’t go to a church party!

I think he thought I was crazy. Then the remarkable happened.

This was the Saturday directly after Thanksgiving (just a few days ago). He had been able to visit with his family. His grandmother brought him a sweet potato pie. He was dishing up a piece for himself. I didn’t know that this was HIS pie made by HIS grandma when I first saw him getting the pie out of the fridge. I assumed it was a community pie. I talked, he listened, then he offered me a piece of his pie.

Perhaps this sweet potato pie was really humble pie.

I was humbled by his offer. (And yes! I took it!) I told him I had never had sweet potato pie (true). And actually, my family had never had it. Then I told him I would take this slice home to my family and we would share it.

His face was filled with pleasure.

His small kindness warmed my heart. Perhaps the sharing of pie was more than a small kindness, but was a sharing of hearts and families as he shared his grandmother with my children. Maybe this is really what Jesus meant when he said, “Take, eat. This is a sign of the new covenant.”

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