Today, I ate my leftover stuffed cabbage all by myself. I didn't share my lunch with anyone.
Today, I failed.
My friend Maria stopped by the church unexpectedly around noon today, with her new boyfriend. They are moving in together, if they can scrape up the deposit for the apartment.
I met Maria through the church. She used to come in to help her mother quilt on Thursdays, but spent most of her time visiting with me in the church office. She helped with office work, helped watch my son, even stayed over at my house a few times.
When she went to her senior prom, I volunteered to do her hair and makeup, and made a gift of the cosmetics.
When Maria graduated high school, she had a career all lined up. She was a certified nurse assistant, and had secured a well-paying, health-insurance-providing job at a local nursing home. Things looked good for Maria.
Then she met a man, and followed him around the country. She was fired from her job. Her upright, Chrisitian parents didn't approve, so she moved out.
She's spent the last year living in squalor, subsisting on food donations and soup kitchen meals, wearing clothes gleaned from other people's trashcans.
When she and her boyfriend showed up, I was glad to see them. They were filthy, and I'd just put Tom down for a nap, but I invited them in. We chatted. Then her boyfriend said that he was going to have to pawn the gold necklace Maria had bought him two days ago for his birthday, because they had no food and hadn't eaten today.
"You haven't eaten all day?" I asked. (I can't even imagine no food all day.)
"Well, we haven't been eating very well lately," Maria admitted. She said she's been passing out a lot, but she doesn't know why.
My lunch - uneaten - was in a bag on the counter behind me. I thought about giving it to them, but I didn't.
I looked at Maria with her greasy hair and filthy nails and heard the words of Jesus in my head:
Whatsoever you do unto the least of my people, you have done unto me.
And I did nothing.