The Blessing of a Meal

Johnny Silveira -
The Blessing of a Meal
One day during recess at school, Charlie was hanging out with his friend Oliver. Both had their  snacks in hand and were eating and talking. 
Then, a classmate settled down next to them. From time to time the boy looked at Charlie and Oliver with hungry eyes. He had nothing to eat and was starving. Oliver, who had barely begun to eat his sandwich, parted it in two and extended his hand, giving one half to his classmate: 
- Joe, I'm not hungry. Will you accept to share this sandwich with me? If I take it back home my Mom will be sad because she was the one who made it. 
With a shy smile, Joe gladly accepted: 
- Thank you, Oliver. It must be delicious! God bless you! 
And Joe quickly ate his half of the sandwich, thanked his friend again, and went to wash his hands in the water cooler feeling satisfied. 
Charlie, who watched Oliver’s attitude with astonishment, used the fact that Joe had walked away to reprimand his classmate: 
- Oliver, why did you share your meal with that kid? He did not bring his own snack and ate half of yours! I do not like people who take advantage of others! If he were hungry, why didn’t he bring a snack!... 
But Oliver heard Charlie’s harsh words, took a deep breath and replied: 
- Charlie, I know Joe. He is from a poor but very good family. He does not bring a meal because they have nothing at home, you know? So when that happens, I do not mind sharing my lunch with him. Before leaving home, I had a good breakfast so I will not miss half a sandwich, trust me. 
Upon hearing Oliver’s explanation, Charlie hung his head in shame for being so hard with a classmate who was poorer than him. Soon the bell rang and they returned to class but Charlie could not forget what Oliver had said; his friend's words were hammering in his head. 
After returning home, Charlie still could not forget what he had heard from his friend. He did not know that Joe was so poor and felt bad about the way he had behaved. 
He went to bed, closed his eyes but Joe's image appeared in front of him, making him remember one day when he brought two iron toy cars to school, those which are imported identical imitation models of real cars. He noted that Joe did not take his eyes off the toys, delighted. However, he would not even let Joe touch the cars. 
Now, lying there, he felt ashamed of his attitude. He cried for acting that way with Joe. And after he decided to change his attitude towards his friend, he finally fell asleep. 
The next day, Charlie woke up excited. He did not even need his mother to come wake him up. He showered, got dressed and sat down to have his first meal. He asked his mother to prepare an extra, really tasty, sandwich and two juices. 
She did as he asked and said: 
- Wow, honey! Looks like you woke up really hungry! 
- No, Mom. It is just to repair a mistake. I'll tell you later. Goodbye!... 
- Godspeed, darling! 
Arriving at the school, Charlie was beaming. Everyone noticed the difference in him without knowing why. Even their teacher noticed his good mood, because he was usually grumpy. 
During recess, he went out with his friend Oliver and called Joe to come along. They found a very quiet place under a tree. Charlie took one of the sandwiches and handed it to Joe, who was surprised with his classmate’s attitude. 
- Do not worry, Charlie. I'm not hungry, it’s ok. 
- I brought this sandwich for you, Joe. My mom made it and it must be very good. Try it! Ah! I also have juice for you! - Charlie replied with a smile. 
With his eyes wide open, Joe looked at the sandwich that was in one hand and the juice in the other, and his eyes sparkled with joy. Then, with a timid voice he asked: 
- Charlie, would you mind if I eat only half of the sandwich and drink only half the juice? 
- No, do whatever you want. I brought them for you!
- Oh, thank you. It’s just that I have a three year-old brother who stays at home and has nothing to eat; I would like to share my lunch with him today.
Charlie swallowed hard, wanting to cry as he heard Joe talk about his little brother, and said: 
- Do whatever you want with your snack. 
Then, remembering the toy cars that he had brought and were in his pocket, Charlie smiled and said: 
- So if you have a little brother, I have something that he will like! - he said as he pulled out the two toy cars from his pocket, still new and shiny, and gave them to his classmate, who could not believe such happiness. 
Joe stood up from where he was and jumped to hug
Charlie, thanking him for the gifts. He then explained, in tears: 
- I was sad because today is my brother’s birthday and I had nothing to give him. Now, I have a snack and I will even bring these toys for him as a gift from you, Charlie!... 
At that moment, Charlie understood why Jesus invites us, in His lessons, to do good to others. There is no greater joy than to feel useful to someone and receive their gratitude, which affects the heart of those who do good. 
Oliver, who watched Charlie, amazed by the change that had taken place in him, smiled, and Charlie noticed it. Then he said to his classmate: 
- Thanks to you, Oliver, today, I received my greatest lesson of the Gospel of Jesus. Thank you, friend!... 
(Psychographed by Celia X. de Camargo on 26/10/2015.)

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