When I was six, instead of going to first grade at Bane Elementary, I ended up in a hospital bed. With polio, I was quarantined and separated from my family. I did not know why I was paralyzed. I did not understand why people I loved did not come to see me.
I hungered for comfort. I yearned for family meals and family togetherness. Somehow, I had ended up in a hospital room with nurses, doctors, orderlies, and other polio victims instead of being with my family.
Thankfulness was not in my heart. Giving to others was beyond my comprehension.
Suddenly, my great aunt Mabel Sterling entered my hospital room. She wore a smile and her Blue Bird Circle volunteer dress. That dress gave her special winged-privileges to visit patients like me when others could not, even in times of quarantine.
Aunt Mabel, my Angel in an apron, sat down next to me. She said, “Bubba, would you like to see what I brought for you?” “Yes”, I replied. Carefully, Aunt Mabel peeled back the aluminum foil from the steamy, fragrant, yeasty homemade cinnamon raisin bread she had made for me. I could not butter the bread she brought me any more than I could lift my arms or my legs. She spread the warm butter to the edges of the slice of bread and placed it in my mouth. Eating it seemed like a taste of Heaven on Earth.
That day and all the days she came to see me that year, in eating each piece of bread, I received a miracle of sorts. The hospital smells of bedpans, urinals, and soiled sheets disappeared. I could not hear the children crying in the next room when the doctors administered spinal taps to confirm poliomyelitis.
Many decades have passed from my days of quarantine and rehabilitation at Hedgecroft Hospital. Yet, I have never forgotten the first time my aproned Angel came to my hospital room and fed me much more than bread. And other things. Promise. Hope. God’s love. That homemade cinnamon raisin bread warmed my soul that day and has kept on feeding me in thanksgiving ever since.
In the Pandemic, we now have millions of Americans including children who are hungry. Who are separated from those they love like I was at age six. Who do not know where the next meal will come from. Will the food they receive be enough for the nourishment of their bodies? And, if they are fed today, will food be placed on their table tomorrow?
So, today, and on every day of giving thanks to God for your blessings, I ask you to join me in giving bread to someone else in need. For the first time in posting these weekly prayers, I am asking you to make a donation. I am suggesting the Houston Food Bank to feed others who may not be in the hospital like I was as a young boy, but who still need to be fed and to receive nourishment, hope, and the love of God.
The Houston Food Bank’s website says that for every $10 you donate a meal is provided for 30 people. On this particular day of giving thanks to God, Dorothy and I gave $300 which will provide meals to 900 hungry people.
When you donate to the Houston Food Bank, each man, woman, and child will never know you personally like I knew Aunt Mabel. But, God will. Maybe, just maybe, by doing so you will one day get to meet my aproned Angel Aunt when you are both seated at God’s Table eating the everlasting bread of eternal life and love.
Dear God, on all our days of giving thanks to You for the blessings You have bestowed upon us as Your children, may we give bread to those in need to feed their bodies and to warm their hearts with Your comfort and love. Amen
If you are not in Houston, please consider donating to the Food Bank in your area.
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Jack H. Emmott is a Senior Counsel of Gray, Reed & McGraw, LLP, a 145-lawyer full-service firm in Houston, Dallas, and Waco, Texas, a Board-Certified Family Law and Master Credentialed Collaborative Law Professional Divorce Attorney, Mediator, Author, Entrepreneur, and Inspirational Speaker. For more information about Jack or his latest book, Bending Angels: Living Messengers of God’s Love, go to www.BendingAngel.com