I didn’t want hominy again. In fact I felt like if I had to eat one more bite I would vomit. At nine, I did not realize the reasons behind the third day of having to eat the yellow, round kernels of grit I was trying to focus on chewing and swallowing. I was just tired of it. I wanted to complain but I knew by the look in my mom’s eyes it would not be a good idea. Plus, my little brother and sister were doing enough complaining for all of us.
At the time my mom was a single mother of three. She worked two jobs as a licensed practical nurse to meet the needs of our home. I knew we did not have much money because I could never get the brand new clothes and shoes my friends at school wore. We did always have everything we needed. If someone would have called us poor I would have been surprised. We had a roof over our head, clothes (many made by my mom), food and toys. We were doing better than the families my mom would sometimes stop and give whatever extra food or money we had to. I thought all was well.
On the same night of the hominy crisis I woke up feeling my way through the dark, stumbling to the toilet. As I was closing the door for privacy I looked into my mom’s room. She was on her knees at the side of the bed praying, a few tears steaming down her face. It was one of the rare moments I had seen her cry. I immediately felt alarmed. What could be so distressing that it would cause my strong, confident mom to cry? After quietly shutting the door and sitting down on the cold tile floor, I listened from the other side. She was praying about food. We didn’t have any. The dreadful hominy was the last thing we had to eat. I heard her reminding God of His promises, to never leave us or forsake us. He promised to provide for us in times of trouble. Even in her prayers I heard her belief. God will take care of us. He always has. For as long as I can remember I heard the words, “God will provide. ” There was never a question mark behind it. So that night, listening to the fervent prayers of my mom, I silently said those words to comfort myself. We will be okay. God will take care of us. I also remember feeling bad about how I acted at the dinner table eating the last can of hominy. I didn’t sleep well that night. Many what ifs bounding around in my head. What if God was too busy? What if he didn’t get mom’s prayer request?
The next morning I got up with dread. Hearing my mom hum as she was cleaning and doing her normal morning routine lifted my spirits. I don’t remember the tune she was humming but I know it was one of the many songs we always sang in church. He’s an on Time God, Yes He is. That one was a favorite, or Jesus will make a way, out of no way. I made my way to the kitchen, belly rumbling even though I knew there was nothing to eat. Maybe mom would go across the street and borrow some money from grandpa this morning. Even though I knew how much she would hate doing so. The doorbell rang. I ran to the front door and threw it open to the smiling face of our neighbor Ruthy and two of her grandchildren. Ruthy was my grandmother’s age. She was the tiny, salt and pepper haired Hispanic woman from next door. Ruthy’s grandchildren each had a brown bag of food in their arms. Ruthy had gotten up early that morning and decided to clean out her deep freezer. She wanted to know if my mom could use the extra food she felt would go to waste if not eaten soon. After thanking Ruthy my mom took the groceries into the kitchen and began putting them away. She was smiling and singing. I almost did not catch the joy filled words she quietly said with her face lifted towards the ceiling, “Thank you God.” That day God became not just the provider my mom would faithfully talk about. He became mine too.