Thursday, January 7, 2010

When Saw we Thee a Stranger?

Often I go through life in a little bubble, composed of me, and whatever family is with me. I see and interact with others - cashiers, store clerks, other cars on the road, but everyone else is the 'other,' in little bubble worlds of their own. Today, through an act of charity and random act of kindness, I suddenly felt connected to another.

Elisheva and I went grocery shopping while Lydia went to her weekly playschool. This week, because of tight finances, we only had our WIC vouchers, and whatever Christmas cash we had been given to shop with. Avram did in fact gain residency in Ohio, so we have in state tuition. The class he is also gained its 60 students, so he also had a job (even if at half his previous stipend), and half his tuition was paid. Unfortunately, as we found out late last week, this did not include a subsidy on our Health Insurance, and so our Insurance for the family jumped from a $100 a month to $500 - more than we pay in rent. Plus the lump sum amount for the whole quarter was due this last Monday, along with our half of the tuition and other various fees, or we faced steep late fees that would keep getting steeper. (And no, we can't un-sign up for the Insurance - we have to have it for the rest of the school year).

We had thought we'd have a couple weeks to work out tuition, and so Monday found us scrambling around to find a way to come up with almost $4,000. Avram signed up for the extended payment plan for tuition, halving the amount due on Monday. Then they also applied the portion of the Hugh Nibley Fellowship that came into the University that same day, which took care of over another thousand. That left us with another $1381 we had to pay that day. By scraping together every last scrap of money in our checking and two savings accounts, we covered the amount, saving us from late fees. Yay! But that also left us with no grocery money, or other money for anything until the Student Loans came through that Avram applied for on Monday as well. (Which when we get our tax refund, we'll be able to pay off all the student loans, so we won't even go into debt. Yay!)

Meanwhile, that leaves us with Christmas money (from various Christmas cards) left for groceries and other expendables until the loans gets processed. Not a huge deal - all of our bill sare paid that are due until near the end of the month. However, we did decide to use a lot of our WIC vouchers now, so we could spend as little as possible (yes, we use WIC. We've used it since last August - I fought getting on it, because I liked being completely independent from any financial aid from anyone, but when we were getting Elisheva vaccinated at the State Health Clinic, the WIC people were so excited for us to get WIC that I caved in. It's been very nice - after Elisheva turned one I was surprised by how much our food bill increased.)

As I went through the grocery line, the cashier was quite flustered by all of the many vouchers I had, and how the various food items worked with them. Then she was replaced by another cashier who couldn't get the cash register to work right with one of the vouchers. Finally she found a supervisor, who finished the transaction. Meanwhile, as the twenty or so minutes passed with all this, three people pile up in line behind Elisheva and I. I felt so bad that we were taking so long, but they all were very patient, including the woman directly behind me, and the medic behind her. He even got called away on a call, and had to leave his groceries, but people were still not glaring at me.

Finally, the WIC transactions finished, and my own groceries rang up to about $20. I went to get my cash, and the women behind me, who had been there for as long as I had, asked me if she could pay for my groceries for me. It wasn't much money from her end, and as I thanked her profusely I know she'll never know just what it meant to me. But today, for our family, it was a lot. I teared up, and didn't share our life story with her, but I thought about how usually we have enough for our groceries. But this week, until we get the loans processed, we didn't, and how much even that small amount of money, not to mention the gracious giving from a stranger, meant to me.

Someday, I'd like to pay that on. Not just paying for a hassled mother's groceries, but waiting in line for almost a half an hour for the privilige of doing so - and still be gracious about it. I love having the tender mercies of the Lord in my life. Avram got residency, Avram got the T.A. job, and now we have the kindness of a stranger to help sustain us. I have a lot to be thankful for.


  1. I'm so happy everything worked out with Avram's schooling/work. And I'm glad that someone felt the urge to have compassion on you at the grocery store. It may have been a little thing, but I completely understand that at that moment, it was a really great act of charity. I'm so glad God is looking out for your sweet family!

  2. Cool story. I'm glad things are working out even though not quite like you thought.

  3. yay! we were praying for you -I guess it helped!

  4. what a great story.. i am so glad that she was there to help :)

  5. Thora you made me tear up! What a sweet lady. I am so glad that people still do awesome thigns like that. I want to do awesome things like that. Thank you for sharing this!