Forwarding love and friendship

I received an envelope during the third service I ever attended at St. Paul's. I don't think I'd ever seen an outreach endeavor like LoveForward before.

I attend school full time and don't have a ton of opportunities to find the people I think of when I hear the words "someone in need." I didn't realize I'd find my opportunity to love forward within my academic life. I was grabbing something I had left behind in the drama classroom one day, right before lunch, when I noticed a girl sitting alone, eating her lunch in the corner of the room. She seemed as though she intended to be alone. During the lunchtime I ended up spending in that classroom, she barely picked at her food. The next day, when I came in to talk to my teacher, the same girl was there, once again picking at her food. I came at the same time the next day, this time purely out of curiosity to see if the girl would still be there. She was, and this time she had no lunch. The same was true of the following three school days after that. 

The fifth day of seeing her without a lunch, instead of staying and making small talk with my teacher, I turned around and got my LoveForward envelope out of my bag. I headed straight to the cafeteria line. I hadn't opened it, and discovered it had $5 in it - perfect. I bought two small bowls of frozen yogurt with the money - exactly $5 in cost - and went back to the drama room. I carefully approached the table where she was sitting and gave her one of the bowls of yogurt and spoon. We sat and ate our yogurt together in silence, but I could see that she was burning to say something.

After lunch, I left the room and she didn't say anything to me. But, as I was getting on the bus to head home at the end of the day, she caught me and took me aside. She couldn't stop thanking me and she told me everything that had been happening to her. Her mother had died of cancer three months previous, and her father used alcoholism to handle his grief. She stopped going out with friends and instead took care of her younger brother, cooked meals, did laundry, and assumed her mother's household role. For this, she started getting bullied at school among people who used to be her friends, and she had found sanctuary in the drama room during lunch, where she could be away from other people. But then everything had started to get too hard for her to handle, and she had been considering suicide until I showed up with a bowl of frozen yogurt.

Though I used my envelope in a different way from that in which I have seen other people using it in their stories, I'm very confident that loving forward saved a girl's life and gave each of us, her and me, a friend. This year, my new friend will be playing in our school's marching band, right at my side, and she has already gathered a good community of more friends than she could ever count before. It has also taught me that "someone in need" could be waiting for you at any moment.

-- Meg North