It was a hard afternoon at Neighbors Together. I had an unhappy encounter with a hungry family: a father, pregnant mother, and child. They came at an hour between lunch time and dinner time when we don't serve meals. I told the father he could bring the family back at dinner time. The father wanted me to get the kitchen supervisor, but I would not ask the cook to make an exception for his family. The cook had allowed no second helpings for anybody at lunch and was saving the leftovers as backup for the dinner meal, because sometimes we run out of food. Another volunteer went to ask the cook to serve them, and she did.
While he was feeding his family, the father said several times I was going to hell. I approached him and told him not to say that, and then he denied having said it. When the family finished eating I apologized to the father on the way out, but he was clearly disgusted.
Although I thought I was being fair, I was not being just, and I was not being compassionate. I was following our agency's rules, but I should know well enough by now that you break the rules to fulfill the Gospel.
I did not want to make the exception. Never mind all the exceptions that God has made for one as undeserving as me.
This incident has haunted me all the day since. What was I thinking? Why wasn't I feeling? Why didn't I do the right thing?
‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’
I am ashamed of myself and sick at heart.