Every few weeks, Joel comes home from church with a crisp dollar bill, or a gold dollar especially for Eli. Mr. Lew is the benefactor, known at our church for many things. A deep love for and trust in God. A wonderful marriage to a remarkable woman named Barb. A ready smile and eyes that beam with kindness and compassion. An enthusiasm for life and people and change, inspiring our community that 70+ years of those things do not need to bring cynicism or callousness. And, he is known for his quirky practice of randomly handing money to people. He will walk up to someone that played the piano at a service, hand him $3, and thank him for tickling the ivories. Or give Joel $1 for Eli. Except I am sure it is not random. I suspect he actually prays about this. I think there's a reason for it, that he would do it even if he wasn't sure what the reason was other than feeling an inner prompting to do it. We've started explaining to Eli where these dollars are coming from, and I actually bought a piggy bank the other week at Target just to keep these little gifts and he loves to "plink" the coins in.
So, I came home the other morning to Joel and Eli "working" in the back yard. We've been doing some landscaping, and have lots of rock down for a patio we've putting together. Eli held his hand out as he walked toward me, saying "Hey mama, I'm Mr. Lew. Here are some monies for you. They are for your piggy bank. You can put them in." He opened up his hand, and in his palm were 4 little rocks. I thanked him of course, and put them in my pocket. He told me that they are also good for throwing in fountains (we toss pennies in at the mall.) Joel laughed as he told me that Eli had been pretending that he was Mr. Lew all morning, handing him rocks for his piggy bank.
Eli had been very busy that morning with some other work too. He watched Joel use the tamper to stamp down and compact the rocks, and said, "I'll be right back Daddy, I have to get somethin'." He went in the house, and returned a few minutes later with the toilet plunger so he could help.
No, I'm not surprised that he's watching so carefully. I'm not surprised that he is copying everything he sees. I hope and pray I'll be responsible to teach him the lessons these moments and people offer. And I want to remember with a smile that he was in our back yard with a toilet plunger, earnestly helping his dad.