"I know what I want to do with my birthday money," Sam said.
"What?" I asked.
"I want to take you on a date. Out for pizza." His smile stretched wide.
"Oh, Sam, that's sweet. And a date would be wonderful. But let me pay. The gift's for you."
His money, paper bills folded small, had been in the belly of his bank for weeks.
"Well, let's get it on the calendar," he said. He went to the wall. Held the Sharpie marker that hung on a string. Peered at squares filled with scribbles. "I think one week from Monday will work."
"Sounds like a plan," I said.
And one week from Monday, at five o'clock, Sam came down the stairs. T-shirt swapped for a sweater. Smelling of soap and sporting wet hair.
In his hands he held small paper, neatly cut, crisp and clean.
"I found this coupon," he said. "When I treat for pizza, we can get bread sticks, too."
And when we got the the restaurant, an hour later, Samuel stood at the counter and ordered. Then he pushed his hand in his pocket and retrieved the coupon and a stack of smoothed bills.
I couldn't say no.
Sam counted his gift and laid the bills flat.
I thought of the Legos or books he'd let go as he stood straight and tall and counted bills out for me.
Sam and I took our sodas and chose a tall table. He moved the chair so I could slide in.
We talked, laughed, and were lost in the blessing of one-on-one. We listened, shared and when the pizza came, I thanked him.
And we enjoyed slice after slice.
His joy became mine and pulled me right in.
I guess my sweet Sam had learned to give.
And his kind giving taught me to receive.
This prayer is borrowed from a devotion by Oscar Greene, Daily Guideposts 2012. It was fitting and echoed my heart...
Mighty Savior, May I understand how to accept the kindness of others with quiet appreciation. Amen.