Like everybody else in my third-grade country school classroom, I ate a socially acceptable lunch at my desk—a ham & cheese sandwich, a bag of chips, and a piece of fruit—always in a paper sack. Anything else would make me the weirdo, a target of ridicule.
One day, Mom insisted that I eat healthy. I carried a black metal lunch box shaped like a barn, with hot soup and cold milk in two thermoses. How could I avoid being seen?
As I walked into the classroom, I tried to hide the lunch box behind me, out from sight, then quietly slipped it under my seat. All morning I worried about what I would do at lunch. I couldn’t keep people from noticing, so I decided to swallow my shame and act happy.
When the lunch bell rang, I forced a big smile and let the lid bang against the desktop. I didn’t look up, because everybody’s eyes had to be staring at me. To my surprise, the bowl of steaming soup and the cold milk tasted really good.
The next Monday, I dared to look up, anticipating pointed fingers and smirks. Surprise. The boy across the aisle had a lunch box like mine. So did Susie and Billy and the tall kid in the back.
That’s when I learned that I never had to be ashamed when I was doing good. And amazingly, when I did that, some people might choose to follow my example.
I will not be ashamed when I share my story in public, how God has changed my life. — Psalm 119:46 paraphrase