I mundanely drove through the pick up line, getting the eldest child from Pre-K and marveling in the beautiful weather, I promptly decided to enjoy a park before going home, after all the plastic dump trucks were rattling in the back seat. Why not let the kids run a bit and enjoy the sunshine? Living in the Golden Isles our choice of parks is broad and ever broadening. I quickly skimmed the choices near our house and decided on an old park with lots of memories. The name is Lookout Park – it looks over the Saint Simons’ bridge and is a lovely sum of marshes, land, and water, occasionally accented with birds and wildlife.
The park is a large green area with picnic table and benches, it is a favorite spot for lunchers, hence the convenience of several fast food restaurants right around the corner. The kids immediately began to run and laugh enjoying the warm sun and refreshing breeze. I began to slowly walk up and down the lookout area while they raced with the trucks. I remembered picnics with my family, senior pictures and countless other past time events at this park.
My gaze shifted downward and I was appalled to notice the endless amount of trash that had blown into the edge of the marsh grass. I prided myself in how often I talk to the kids about “not littering” and “keeping God’s world beautiful” after all I never throw trash on the ground... I was really getting good and full of myself when I heard – “Why don’t you get the kids and pick up all this trash?” I quickly dismissed the request, but the thought wouldn’t leave. I was reminded of a prayer I often pray “Lord, please use me to bring your kingdom to earth.” Here I was, closed off to the idea of picking up trash. I knew I had been given a mission. I succumbed to obedience. Then I promptly named this mission: Operation Trash Pick Up in classic Cyle Augusta fashion. Yes, I name everything- especially chores.
I gathered the kids in the van. I explained the mission and they were totally in. We drove the whole 33 seconds to our house and grabbed a trash bag and gloves. We came back and talked through the mission: To pick up all trash we could find and make the park beautiful. The boys and I high fived each other and we after a game time chant we were off to complete the mission.
I was not expecting the excitement the boys expressed, they were truly thrilled to remove trash from the park. They searched and crept into places I wouldn’t have gone to get trash, they most often shrieked at all the McDonalds’ bags and wrappers.
My heart was warmed as the older brother encouraged the younger with, “good eye, your doing great” I think there was a bit of a competition to see who could fill their truck up first- when the youngest was far behind in the game the older brother would give him trash for his truck. They were really showing some encouragement to one another- I think they liked the whole name of the mission. They did the happy dance when we filled up the bag and counldn’t find any more trash.
We went home and washed our hands and the trucks, all the while my heart was full and blessed by the simple act of picking up trash. Today’s adventure got me thinking: what other kinds of service projects could I do with a three and a five year old? I often overlook community service and mission oriented projects thinking the kids are too young. After today I am convinced they are not. Does anyone out there have any ideas on service projects to do with small kids? any thoughts are welcome…
What if I had not been obedient to the Lord’s tender, soft voice? It saddens me to think that I would have missed seeing my boys excited about serving. I admit I was a tad concerned about their precious hands touching all that trash. When I rattled my excuse off to the Lord, he simply reminded me that I had a box of yellow gloves at home under the sink. Those yellow gloves were put to good use even if they were a bit big!
(Though I didn’t realize it at the time, this blog fit well with ABeachCottage.com’s post on “Good Life Wednesday“)
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Noisily, it slid shut, raising my awareness that the automatic van door was slowly approaching death.