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  • It Takes So Little

    October 20, 2006

    Antique Mommy is taking the day off. Here’s something from the archives.

    The morning sun was harsh and blinding as we headed east. It bullied its way through my windshield and bounced around on the dashboard. It was not the gentle, renewing sun that greets me through my kitchen window every morning and baptizes me into another day of life. This sun cut through my cheap sunglasses and directly into the center of my skull like a gamma knife. This sun pushed my “GO!” button over and over like someone impatient for an elevator.

    Sean sat in the back seat of the car and provided the color commentary as we drove. “Mommeeee! A pick up twuck!” and then “Mommeeee! A school bus!” We were a good ten cars deep as we approached the four way stop. It seemed as though no one had ever encountered a four-way stop before.

    Stop. Inch up. Stop. Inch up. Finally we were just three cars away from our turn before we could zoom on with our lives. And then I saw him. He was sitting on the corner, in a tattered lawn chair. He looked like he might be somebody’s dad. He could have been my dad. His silver hair peeked from under a dirty baseball cap. He wore sunglasses. He was waving at every single car that passed through that intersection. Not a half-hearted flip-of-the-wrist wave, but a vigorous hand-over-head wave. He tipped his chin up to the sun – THAT sun – and with a full smile sent goodwill and greetings out to universe and to those who crossed his path that morning. “Hi!” or “Have a nice day!” he called to every driver.

    My first thought was “What kind of nut…” Finally it was my turn. I pulled up to the stop sign. “Look Mommy! A man!” Sean called into the front seat. “Him wave at me!” “Yes Sean, that man waved at us,” I said as I looked in the rearview mirror at his baby face, so pleased. As I pulled through the intersection, the man in the tattered lawn chair made eye contact with me. Even though I couldn’t see his eyes through his sunglasses and he couldn’t see mine through my tinted window, I knew that he had looked into my eyes, that he had laid eyes on my soul. I rolled down my window and yelled “Hi! Good morning! It’s great to be alive!” And I wasn’t even embarrassed.

    We continued down the road, heading east. The sun no longer seemed as harsh and my “Go” button had been magically disabled. Such a simple gesture had changed the course of my day and my attitude and maybe even my life.

    I thought about that man in the lawn chair off and on throughout the day. I couldn’t let it go. Something had happened to me at that intersection. As I lay my head on my pillow that night, it came to me. Like a feather floating down from the ceiling, it settled on my heart. And it is this: It takes so little to reap so much for the kingdom of God, the kingdom of humanity. If you’ve got a lawn chair, a smile and an arm to wave, you’ve got a ministry.

    What are you doing for the kindgom?

    8 Comments »

    1. Linda says:

      You are a wonderful writer. I enjoy your posts so much and this one was especially moving. I have been noticing lately how much a simple smile can do. When I make eye contact with someone and give them a genuine smile – it feels like some sort of connection has been made. Perhaps we don’t need a lot of words to be a witness, perhaps it is just as you’ve said – something as simple as a smile from the heart.

      October 20th, 2006 at 6:30 pm

    2. Laurie says:

      Kenny, a man at our church who worked at the Sheltered Workshop in town passed away two weeks ago. He lived in a boarding home in our town and waved daily at everyone who went by. His death has left a huge hole in our little town. Everybody knew Kenny. They didn’t all know his name, but they all knew him. The line at his visitation was long. He had no blood relatives at the funeral, but he had many brothers and sisters in the Lord. I posted about him here…http://fernnookfarmgirl.blogspot.com/2006/08/i-like-living-in-mayberry-for-lots-of.html . What a wonderful man. We miss him.

      October 20th, 2006 at 8:36 pm

    3. Perri says:

      I think every town must have a guy like this — and if they don’t, they should.

      October 20th, 2006 at 9:42 pm

    4. marcia says:

      “wow. . ” she said softly to herself.

      thank you a.m.

      October 21st, 2006 at 8:50 am

    5. confused foreigner says:

      Thanks for that!

      October 21st, 2006 at 10:07 am

    6. Kacey says:

      The older I get, the more I quote things I have heard along the way. Joyce Landorf (Christian author, singer) said, “The Lord needs our testimony in whatever way we are gifted to give it.” Your gentleman in the
      lawn chair found his use in a smile … yours is in the words you write for our edifcation. I smile while I read…sometimes in joy and sometimes in awe of your abilities.

      October 22nd, 2006 at 4:39 pm

    7. Susan says:

      There you go again — making me cry at work.

      Thank you, though.

      October 23rd, 2006 at 11:15 am

    8. Susan says:

      I can’t read this — or re-read it, even — without tearing up. Every time.

      I just sent it to all of my coworkers and friends via e-mail.

      You can’t believe the amount of positive comments I’ve received in return!

      You are an amazing writer, AM. And person.

      March 1st, 2007 at 12:51 pm

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