To break bread refers to the eating of common food, to
eating with simplicity of heart, to eat for preservation.
This gesture of breaking bread is an offering to others.
While I was in India it was tea; first, an obligation for the host
to serve their guest. But it wasn’t until my hosts became my
friends that we broke bread—we sat and ate together as friends,
our legs crossed on cushions all at the same level as equals.
Behind the gesture of breaking bread is an obligation;
a gift that is being given by someone and received by someone.
It is a symbol of mutual understanding and respect.
The first Thanksgiving was an offering and perhaps
for a moment, there was a space for gift and understanding.
For me, it happened in late October, when I went to
raid the candy jar at the reception desk in our office. Rather
than chocolate, I found Sadie and she gave me tortillas.
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for Sadie.
She told me that she read our paper and in it, she found the poetry and words she
had always needed to express. She was once homeless—abandoned by her husband and left on the
streets with her son. She found her way to a room in a house where poverty blew through. While
she slept at night, restless, she prayed to God.
He told her to make tortillas.
When she woke up the next morning she felt overcome by the task but prayed again and
felt His presence. She gathered herself, found a small bag of flour and began the task of kneading
it into dough; soon there was a small stack of tortillas.
She only had three cents to her name.
She put on a brave face and went out on the street. When no one from her family or her
community could help, she found a stranger who would. She asked the woman if she would please
buy her tortillas for four dollars.
The woman replied that it was so hard to find real tortillas and bought them. With the
four dollars, Sadie went to the store and bought a bag of flour for $3.89. She went home, made
more tortillas and returned to the sidewalk. It wasn’t long before she had enough to make and sell
When she was homeless, help came from unexpected places and it often came from those
who were also homeless. She didn’t just sell tortillas and burritos; she fed people. And she always
made sure that the people who helped her, when no one else would, had food to eat.
Sadie was recently in a car accident. She took her settlement in cash and gave it away to
all those who had helped her on the street. She has a car, still lives in transitional housing and now
has a job in an office.
She lifted a bag to the counter and offered me some freshly-made tortillas.
Sadie broke bread with me.
I was born in New Mexico and tortillas are bread- they are products of the earth and land;
they are the people. She offered me something more than bread. She offered me exactly what I
needed. We all need something to feed our soul and something that can connect our souls. She is
my grandmother and someone who we all have to remember.
Food can nourish our bodies but it can also feed the soul and we find it in unexpected
ways and we need to provide it in unexpected ways because it is one way we feed our spirit.
Sadie showed me how important the Denver VOICE is for the people who tell their stories
on its pages and for those who read it. I am grateful to have the opportunity to provide a means for
people to tell such important stories. We are in a sense breaking bread with our readers by sharing
something that sustains us and connects us—stories of the human experience.
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