I had found my dad after he had abandoned our family and mom moved away. I lived with him just long enough for him to sign the papers that allowed me to get a driver’s licenses at 15. A hardship licenses. Seemed right to me.
When my parents split I was just 14 and I chose to live on the street, make my own way, do whatever I wanted. That really meant, steal things, talk my friends into feeding me and giving me money, taking and selling drugs at will. I was a lost little guy and did not know how bad it was.
When I was growing up we ate solid homemade country foods. My mom was and still is a fantastic cook. Everything is made from scratch old style. Bread was of course a staple in our house. Especially white bread. Soft white center with a golden brown crust. Toasted, sandwiches, egg, peanut butter and jelly, melted cheese, tuna with sweet relish. We would take fresh white bread, tear it into small pieces, sprinkle white sugar over it and cold whole milk. All stale bread was used to make bread pudding that is too die for.
I can’t remember where the connecting point was, a friend of a friend maybe. Just after I had gotten my licenses I was trying to figure out a way to get a car. I had burned a lot of bridges fast when I first hit the streets. I was a fast talker and smooth operator, most druggy and alcoholics are early on. Somehow I found a family that needed their big ole 2-story house painted and they were willing to trade an old car and some money for the labor. I said heck yea.
I had minimal to no skills but swabbing a 5-inch paintbrush back and forth could not be all that hard. It was summer, the heat was on and this house was huge. I got their every morning early and painted. I had a paint brush and cans of paint. No lunch I can remember, no water bottles or Gatorade. Just me and my trusted paint brush, a yard hose and a whole lot of time.
The young mom who lived there was super nice to me. I think she knew I was in a rough place. I was very skinny, my hair was long and scruffy, my skin tanned from the Texas sun. Each morning as I began my day she would come out and share the obligatory “do you need anything?” My response was always, “no mam.” Then one morning she asked if I would like an egg sandwich. I replied yes. She delivered it warm on toasted white bread with a bit of mayo and mustard. My whole day changed. From that day forward she would bring me an egg sandwich and tell me good morning. If she was not home it sat with my gear wrapped in a paper towel.
My heart was impacted by that egg sandwich. I did not know it at the time but that feeling I had each morning as she came out and cared for me was the lost little boy who desperately wanted to be cared for. God was giving me a moment with Him. I never knew it.
For years as my kids made their way through the house and out the door in the morning on their way to school I would make them an egg sandwich, just like that lady did for me. Even this morning as my adult daughter, who is visiting, made her way to leave for work I had an egg sandwich on white bread with mayo and a bit of mustard, warm, wrapped in a paper towel waiting for her. Memories and habits of the heart. Things that gave us comfort and remind us of good times as a child can brand our hearts, our lives, how we talk and walk and feed our families. These will be the things that form us as an adult. The good, the bad and the stuff in the middle. It is who you are and will always be.
I am not sure if I ever thanked that lady or not. I don’t know if they were Christians or just kind people who wanted to get some paint on their house. I can tell you that her kindness has never been forgotten. I know it has given me a heart for workers at my house. I also love egg sandwiches, on white bread toast with a bit of mayo and mustard, and maybe a small pile of bacon.
Thank you lady with the huge house, with super tall sides, that needed painting one hot Texas summer. Your egg sandwiches were a gift to me from God Himself and it made a difference in that young boy’s life and this old man’s ways. God is always there, always.
Men the ability to change a young boys life is before you. To impact their destiny for eternity. Let’s just call this the “Egg Sandwich Challenge, are you in?