The Paper Sack Lunch

Today at work, I ate a delicious lunch that I had prepared for myself this morning. Everything was perfect — a turkey, cheddar, lettuce and tomato sandwich, a peach, and some chips. Everything was there, except for one critical element: the napkin.

Every week day of my life from age 4-17, I always had a napkin in my brown paper sack lunch. Sue Goodier carefully prepared my lunch each morning, and always remembered to include a napkin so that my hands or face wouldn’t be grubby. And sometimes, she even placed a sweet note in my lunch sack: “Praying for you!” “Do well on your Algebra test!” etc.

I always had my paper sack lunch. And the napkin was always there. I was always taken care of.

That napkin got to me today while I was eating my grown-up girl lunch without a napkin. If there’s anything my parents gave me, it’s the gift of consistency.

Our society is one where parents are often literally absent, or absent in mind and spirit. I’m directing and performing in a play at church this week in which the dad is so wrapped up in the NBA finals and the mom is so consumed with bills that they don’t have time to play with their daughters. Sadly, many parents today forget that their children are a precious gift from God — and they only have about 18 years to train them up in the way they should go.

Back to the napkin. My parents gave me consistency. I always made it to school, and made it there on time. I was always at church on Sunday morning; there was no other option. I was raised with faithful, consistent parents, and for that, I am immensely grateful.

I look forward to the day when I can put napkins in my children’s lunch sacks — when I can fill them with sticker-clad notes about how much I love them and how proud I am of them. For now, I am allowing God to build consistency and overflowing love inside of me. For when my day to have a family comes, I don’t want to miss a single opportunity to give love and consistency.

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