The Gerber Miracle

As a child in a family of eight, I was raised with a different perspective than a lot of the only-child’s I came to know as a young boy. There were many times I’d envy the kids who grew up without siblings – thinking they somehow had it better than I did with their own bedroom, soccer cleats, and Starter™ jackets.

Our Dad was a hardworking man, who worked as a one-man IT consultant for various clients in Columbus, OH. He called his business iDesign, which existed many years before that fruit company inundated the world with iEverything’s…

Both my Mom and Dad shared the burden of raising a large family. Each, investing their time, resources, love, and energy into raising a family that deeply loved and cared for each other.

More than anything, we had each other and did our best to get along. In the moments where we didn’t, things were quickly patched up with the following:

“You’re my brother/sister and I love you”

The phrase has lasted long into our adult years and has been a foundational way we’ve learned to love each other through difficult arguments or situations.

In our family, love meant a lot more than money. I’d venture to say we grew up with far more of one than the other; love. I’m thankful my parents instilled in us the values to prioritize the things we could never lose ahead of the material possessions we could never keep.

One example of this value was displayed in a story fondly told by my Mom which involved generosity and the willingness to be obedient to your own spirit when it tells you to do something that seems crazy.

When I was a toddler, our family went through an extremely difficult period of financial hardship where bills were late and food on the table wasn’t a guarantee.

In spite of this, babies need to eat and my parents had several of them.

One morning, my Mom realized she was completely out of baby food. Worse, she found her purse to be penniless. This isn’t a good situation when you have a hungry child.

Something inside of her told her to walk to the grocery store with her empty purse and full stroller. So, she packed all of us together and decided to walk to the local neighborhood grocery store – Big Bear, a now-bankrupt grocery chain in Ohio.

To this day, I’ve developed a lot of respect for the courage she mustered in that moment. Going to the grocery store with hungry children and not enough spare change to buy a pack of gum couldn’t have been easy.

Yet, she carried through and followed her heart all the way to the baby food aisle.

That’s when a small miracle happened, one which I still do not understand.

Standing in the middle of the baby food aisle was a small stand showcasing Gerber™ baby food products. Behind the stand, stood a friendly middle-aged woman who began a conversation with my Mom.

Before the conversation was over, the Gerber™ representative asked my Mom if she was in need of baby food. She was…desperately.

Without hesitation, the friendly woman began to fill the shopping basket with can after can of the best baby food money could buy – for free.

We walked home that day with bags of baby food that Mom didn’t pay a cent for.

That week, we ate like kings.

Looking back on this day, as a 30-year old adult that has yet to start a family, I’m reminded of the provision and peace that can be found in the universe. There’s a deep-rooted longing in all of us to be capable, strong, and abundant providers.

This lesson in life wasn’t about being a provider, but being obedient to the little voice in your head that encourages you to do the things that sometimes seem crazy – which is when little miracles become possible.

Photo by Clark Young on Unsplash

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