When I was growing up, trips to the Newtownards A & E were frequent. I sprained my ankle tripping over a stickle brick, slashed my hand open on a milk bottle, and somehow pulled a muscle badly when sitting down (though I don’t believe I have the most embarrassing injury- I never got my thumb stuck in a coke can…).
One Saturday night, I managed to somehow injure myself. I don’t remember what the injury was, but it involved my arm. I don’t remember how old I was either, but I suspect I was suitably old that the amount of crying I did was inappropriate (I was definitely under 10). In truth, part of the reason I was so upset was that I didn’t want to put my parents out by having them to take me to A & E, but off my mum and I went.
There was another boy there, about my age, but probably younger, with his mum. While I was still in floods of tears, the boy came up to me unprompted, and in his hand he had the last two chunks of his caramel bar. He didn’t say anything, he just smiled and held it out for me. I took it and said “thanks”. He just smiled and sat down again next to his mother. I quickly stopped crying, and I was called through soon after that, and whatever injury I had was seen to.
I didn’t remember this incident again until about a year or so ago. I’ll never know if the boy was a Christian, but I don’t recall a stranger, let alone a child, showing me such grace before or since. This kid’s Christ-like attitude, his willingness to cheer me up at his own expense (when you’re that age, the last thing you want to do is give away your chocolate, least of all to a wimpy stranger) is to be admired. It was humbling, and it was the biggest note in the drumbeat of grace that accompanied me throughout my youth.