Neighbor Day Labor Day- Part 2

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Lily has the heart of a servant. She will set up elaborate dinners and tea parties. Then, rather than sit down and join in, she’ll stand by, waiting to see if we need any more water or pretend cake.

A few weeks ago at a friend’s birthday party, several adults witnessed Lily grabbing three cookies. “No, Lily. That’s too many.” But before anyone could really step in to stop her, she grabbed three plates. And then three napkins. Fascinated by where this was going, I just watched. And I followed her out the door. Where there were four people chatting.

Lily handed out the cookies on plates with napkins, looked at the fourth person, disappeared for a moment, and returned with the fourth cookie, plate, and napkin.

She didn’t say a word about it. She just loves to serve.

It came as no surprise to me, then, that when I asked how we could help our neighbors, she suggested we serve them.

All day on Monday, it was all she wanted to do. She didn’t want to go to the beach. She didn’t want to swim at the YMCA. She just wanted to “do lemonade.” And when the time came, she had a ball. “Who wants lemonade? Who wants lemonad?” she cried every time someone walked down the path. And who doesn’t want lemonade from a four-year-old little girl in her best dress?

She put the ice in the cups herself and managed to pour without spilling. She was a blessing to so many people on Monday and managed to bring people together in the process, since most people enjoyed their lemonade right outside with her.

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As is often the case, our sermon on Sunday dealt directly with issues that had been on my mind. Sometimes it freaks me out. But usually I just accept it as the norm and move on. Sunday’s lesson started with our pastor talking about neighbors in Eastern culture. (specifically during the time Jesus was alive.) Hospitality was expected. There was no question about opening homes and feeding neighbors. It’s what was done. I thought it was interesting timing considering what Lily had decided to do with her Labor Day.

It was funny, though. Lily offered hospitality so freely. And just like when a few adults assumed she was taking those three cookies for herself- people had no idea what to do with it.

Every person we encountered tried to give her money, or said they didn’t have any and therefore didn’t want the lemonade. Lily has no idea that lemonade stands are a thing. It never occurred to her that people would give her money. Daddy and Mommy had to stand by and explain that it was a gift. And that the gift was her idea. One neighbor asked if she could give her a dollar anyway. We decided we would prefer to keep it as pure as her intentions. Her reward was the serving.

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Last night I started a load of laundry. But I didn’t get to switch it from the washer to the dryer until this morning because blankey got left at school and it was a rough night. When I went down this morning there was a note on my laundry bag.

THE NEXT TIME YOU DECIDE TO DO LAUNDRY CONSIDER YOUR NEIGHBORS. THE NEXT TIME YOU LEAVE YOUR LAUNDRY HERE IT WON’T BE BACK WHEN YOU COME BACK FOR IT HOURS LATER.

I don’t do very well with criticism. (Does anyone?) I wanted to grab my laundry and run upstairs and hide. I also wanted to leave a (signed, I don’t do anonymous) note that said DUDE THERE ARE THREE WASHERS AND THREE DRYERS AND IT WAS OVERNIGHT I SERIOUSLY DOUBT MY LAUNDRY WAS IN THE WAY AND IF YOU WERE PLANNING ON USING ALL THREE WASHERS AT ONCE THAT’S AGAINST THE RULES SO THERE AND ARE YOU FOR REAL THREATENING TO STEAL MY LAUNDRY?. And finallly, it occurred to me to leave a heart-felt note about being a Mom, and blankey, and how I try but a laundry schedule is really hard, and sometimes I get caught-up doing other things, and please be nice.

But I didn’t do any of that. I came upstairs and wrote a blog.

And I hope, as I write, that Lily’s servant heart isn’t hers alone. Maybe we can raise a generation of kids who give lemonade freely. Who don’t make snarky comments about how more neighbors should have come down and isn’t it a shame. And who don’t leave passive-aggressive notes about laundry.

I’ve always said God has a very special plan for Lily. If it’s being a good neigbor and teaching others to do the same, I’d be pretty cool with that.

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