Pope Francis’s message about taking care of the earth brought a smile to my face. You see we just spent “Earth Day” with our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. We saw the Pope’s words put into action before he even wrote them. Our granddaughter, Elle, was doing her part to save the earth. I guess you could say Elle lives this message everyday of her life. Elle is always saving something. If there is a cause to be undertaken, Elle leads the way. She was very intent on her mission, like Jesus is about saving our souls.
Let me paint you a picture. Two very tired grandparents arrived in Louisville, Kentucky after a long trip over the mountains and through the woods from Augusta, Georgia. We were so glad to arrive just in time for dinner. Amanda, a Proverbs 31 woman, had everything already prepared and ready to eat. It smelled good, and was a welcome treat for these hungry travelers. We were so glad to see everyone. The non-stop talking, an art learned in most large families, helped us all catch up in half the time. My heart leapt!
After dinner we all agreed on a family walk. There is nothing like a walk on a spring day in Kentucky. Surprisingly there was a climate change, a burst of “Northern exposure.” When the temperature dropped drastically, it was my cue for a wardrobe change. I went from flip flops and a sundress to hiking boots and a winter coat. I had gloves on each hand, a cute hat on my head, and we had not even left the house yet. Okay, I do not do winters, but everyone else was just fine.
Leaving the home together here was the lineup; Dr. Pat walked with Dr. Kyle. Their conversation of course took a medical bent. Kyle was pulling “Princess” Lauren in her little red wagon. The princess was comfortable upon her throne with her servants two, Papa Pat and Daddy Kyle. Amanda and I pulled up the rear with Ava who barely left her Mama’s side. Where was “Princess” Elle? She was sandwiched in the middle of the family parade, riding her bike. Joy was in the air because the family was together at last.
We marched through the neighborhood in step with one another. Suddenly something seemed out of the ordinary. I noticed that Elle kept stopping to pick up trash along the route, and placing it in her bike basket. I was puzzled. “I have to ask,” I said, “What Elle is doing?” Amanda, our daughter, who we call “Joy” because of her middle name, gave a cheery reply, “Elle is saving the earth.” Of course she is, I thought to myself because Elle is always saving something. Elle collects, sells, gives and shares all. If you have a cause, Elle is your cheerleader, mouthpiece or promoter; from magazines to support the school to canned goods to feed the poor. Elle is the first responder for all. Money to donate to the Salvation Army at Christmas; Elle’s in with her entire piggy bank. Food baskets for the poor at Thanksgiving; Elle’s your girl. I almost forgot, for Rice Bowl collection at Easter she of course plays her part. Elle was born with a missionary heart. If someone has a need, Elle will find a way to fill it. Her generous heart could put many adults to shame. The amazing reason for Elle’s giving is that she’s got it? Got what? She is got the reason for the season, for any season. No matter what the season, Elle knows even at age seven that “Jesus is the reason.” She gives out of a love for Him.
Though she lives in a well-maintained neighborhood with little trash, Elle had on her eagle eyes. She spotted every piece of trash in our path no matter how small. Elle looked high, she looked low. As she was doing so, Elle spied a piece of trash stuck to a branch, high in the tree. “Daddy, Daddy,” Elle shouted, “Lift me up so I can reach that piece of trash.” Daddy kept on walking. I, Nana, thinking Dr. Kyle had not heard, shouted all the louder, “Kyle, Elle is saving the earth one piece of trash at a time.” Daddy gave the look that meant, are you kidding me? Then mustered up the response, “On the way back Elle, we’ll catch it. “ Elle smiled. To Elle, her daddy is a giant of a man in size and in her admiration for him. We all marched on, circled the cul-de-sac and headed back to our tree for the “Earth Day” trash pick-up. Elle smiled with delight as her daddy approached her. He parked the little red wagon, which now carried two little ladies, Lauren and a very tired Ava. All eyes were on daddy, as he reached out his arms and boosted Elle up onto his strong shoulders. Elle’s surefooted cheerleader feet stood tall and bravely on her daddy’s shoulders. Elle extended her arms to the full extent; success was evident. Rising to her tippy toes and reaching further than she thought possible, the trash was captured by one “Earth Day” advocate. So was the attention of the audience, her family. We all applauded a job well done, and of course took a picture. Carefully Kyle sailed Elle thru the air like a bird in flight, safely landing her right near her bike.
As Elle mounted her bike for our final destination, home, I could not help but thank the Lord Jesus, for this little precious soul. I decided to capture a moment to speak to my son-in-law alone. “Kyle,” I said in my best southern accent, “You ‘all must be so proud of Elle. Why I have never seen anyone like her before. She has such a good heart!” I thought Kyle would just take a well–deserved bow, as any parent who had just been complimented, but he didn’t. His response caught me off guard. He smiled politely and with great admiration in his voice, responded, “Elle is the one child I know who makes me want to be a better person.” I, the wordy woman was dumbfounded and speechless. Later on that night, Kyle’s profound words remained, mulling around in my brain. Elle is not only saving the earth, I thought, she is also touching souls one person at a time. She is the “poster child” for putting Pope Francis’s words into action. This was an “Earth Day” that I will never forget. Elle is taking care of the earth and the people who live in it. Elle is making a difference. How high will you climb do your part for Jesus?