The Sandwich

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story from a high school retreat about six girls with kind hearts and a sandwich

Submitted: February 10, 2017

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Submitted: February 10, 2017



I had never prayed over a sandwich before, but there is a first time for everything.

In the mid-July summer heat of Nashville, TN, we, the youth group from Broadus Memorial Baptist Church, stepped from the bus onto the streets of one of America’s most booming music cities. Every other building had live music, conflicting drumbeats fought with the street musicians trying to earn some spare cash and make it big.

After wandering for a half an hour, the adults made an executive decision to eat at Hard Rock Café. The hostess leads our party of almost 40 up a turning staircase, past music memorabilia, some familiar; others have grown cold with time. After one last turn and collective astonishment at a signed Beatles record, we enter the second story eating area. A live band plays outside on a balcony as the youth group splits up by our small, and not largely defined, friend groups.

The group of older girls orders from our delightful, ruggedly handsome waiter and we sing along as the band switches from songs we weren’t old enough to know, to those we could sing every word to. Our steaming food comes out, mountains on our plates; we would be lying to ourselves if we thought we could eat it all. We talk about Fuge camp, what we had been attending at the nearby Belmont University and about our separate mission sites of the week. As our dinner drew to a close, I taught all the younger girls how to properly tip our fantastic, and did I mention ruggedly handsome, waiter. Most of us had made a significant dent in our food mountains, but none of us made a move to get a box, we had no way to store or reheat our leftovers on the campus.

Avery, two years younger than me, a rising sophomore, had a great idea when looking at our leftover food. She saw Dakotah’s half of a club sandwich and flagged down the waiter to get a box. We were all confused.

“Avery, there’s no way we can store food in our dorms.”

“We can give it to someone on the street. We passed plenty of homeless people while we were walking.” We all agreed with her, if we were at a mission camp where one of the major themes was be bold, we were going to put others first and give some random person half a club sandwich from Hard Rock Café. We got our soft, brown cardboard box and Dakotah carefully packs the sandwich in it with napkins. Avery requested to carry the box since she was the one who came up with the idea, but said she wanted us to help her find someone. We set out from the restaurant on a mission.

We stand outside the restaurant waiting for the adults to decide what the group will do for the next couple hours, before we had to be back at the university to attend what would become an emotional worship service. All of us that knew about the sandwich stand off to one side talking about whom to give it to. We see a few people in sight, but none seemed right to anyone. I brought up an idea.

“What if we pray about it?”

“Pray over a sandwich?” Faith asks.

“Why not?” Avery asks. We all collectively hold the sandwich in the middle of our circle of six, Avery, Melody, Faith, Dakotah, Elizabeth, and I, and we bow our heads in unplanned unison. A small awkward silence ensues before Avery speaks.

“Dear God,” she begins, in the middle of the city, six of us pray over a lukewarm sandwich. “Help us find the right person to give this sandwich to,” A slight group chuckle arises as we all come to realize how this sounds, but it fades back into the seriousness of what we were doing. “Use it for your will. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

“Amen,” we echo and release the box into Avery’s hands. I place a Pray for the Karamojong card, the African group our mission camp was sponsoring through offering, onto the box for who we chose.

The group split into two, a small number of us going back to the university early to get ready for worship, the other group wanting to explore more of exciting downtown Nashville. We meandered down a main street filled with lights and music, looking in shops, our group of seven, my mother now in on the mission, paying attention to see if we could find a person we felt suitable for our sandwich.

It was about halfway through this walk that I happened to find myself at the back of the pack, reminiscing with my mother about bands we had seen in years past that now lived in Nashville. A particular man caught my eye and I stopped. He was singing a song about going to church on Sunday, to not do drugs, and stay in school, a song of his own invention by the way it sounded. He had a beaten-up, black acoustic guitar and had grey hair under a black cowboy hat. His jeans were dirty and his jacket had holes in it, but he had a smile and a worn guitar case open at his feet, coins shining in the sunlight.

“God loves you!” He yelled at us.

“Sir, you’re preaching to a youth group, this is fantastic.” I said, stopping to speak to him.

“Praise God!” He replied.

“Yeah!” I laughed. He was exactly who I thought should get the sandwich. I looked for Avery, but she was too far ahead for me to get. I ran to catch up with the group, leaving this man to sing to the next group of people who walked by about good things to do in life. I told Avery of this interesting man. We kept our eyes out for other people, but none seemed to get close to the man I had talked to. We stopped at a gift shop with an Elvis statue out front, to buy shirts and interesting knick knacks. Soon, our youth minister, Randy, is hurriedly trying to round us up to get out the door and back to the van. I find Avery.

“We need to give that guy the sandwich on the way back.”

“Definitely.” She said. Randy and the other adults managed to get all the kids rounded up and we start hurriedly walking back to the van. Our small group started to worry whether the man would still be there or not. We saw him, still singing his song, and ran to him.

“Hi,” I start. The man stops singing and looks at me with a smile. “We’re a youth group from the Fuge camp being held at Belmont University this week. We’d like to give you this sandwich.” Avery held out the sandwich. He takes it, a confused look on his face.

“Thank you so much.” He says. I start to explain the card.

“This is the African group we’re sponsoring this week.”

“You’re the Karamojong?”

“No,” I say hurriedly. “We sponsor them. We loved your song, have a great week!”

“God bless you all!” He yells his smile bigger than we had seen. Randy yells for us to hurry up. We run after him to the van, laughing at the fact that we had just used a sandwich to make someone’s day. 

© Copyright 2019 A. L. Sivils. All rights reserved.

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