Miss Lucy Showed Up

Eight o’clock this morning found us sitting at a Waffle House waiting on our standard order of two eggs over medium, grits, and toast.  As the food was being prepared, I looked around at all the pictures on the walls.  One caught my eye.

Miss Lucy (holding a childing wearing a Waffle House hat) – 46 years of service.

Forty-six years of service.  Wow!

I’m sure Miss Lucy wasn’t a perfect person; she lived through the ups and downs of life, and I’m sure she made mistakes.  But one thing is certain – for forty-six years, Miss Lucy showed up.

She greeted customers. She poured coffee.  She smiled. She cleaned tables. She counted out money. She chatted and joked with the regulars. 

Her service was impressive enough that Waffle House thought it worthy of being commemorated on the wall of the restaurant.  You may even see her picture when you visit your next Waffle House.

I don’t know Miss Lucy or when that picture was taken, but I think her life holds some wisdom for me.

These are the lessons I took away from her picture. 

  1. Showing up is important.  Every day, no matter how I feel or what is happening in the world, showing up is my job.  It matters to those I serve, and it matters to my own wellbeing.  I may not be able to move a mountain, but I can show up with a shovel.
  2. No act of service is insignificant.  How we treat the people we meet everyday is important.  Who knows how many people walked out to face a day a little more prepared because of a cup of coffee Miss Lucy served?  Or how many times did her smile or chat draw out someone who was suffering?  We tend to overlook the small acts of kindness, but when you lump all the small acts together, you find a life that has made a difference.
  3. Attitude matters.  I bet if Miss Lucy had carried the reputation of the grumpiest waitress in the store, she would not have ended up on that poster.  I bet her daily attitude was positive, that she encouraged her coworkers, that she worked diligently.  I bet she remembered who needed cream and who didn’t when people came in regularly.  For forty-six years, I bet she took her work seriously and served faithfully.

So, as I thought about Miss Lucy today, I was challenged to

  • Show up for life every day, being fully present where I am.  I can’t fix the past, and I can’t control the future, but today is a gift that I can unwrap with joy. I can be a noticer of needs and actively look for ways to serve.
  • Consistently look for ways to serve, to lift burdens, and to encourage.  Hold the shopping cart for the struggling young mother, give an extra tip, ask how I can help and do it.
  • Go out with joy.  Nehemiah 8:10 reminds that “the joy of the Lord is your strength”.  People may be difficult, and days may be hard, but I can still live an attitude of joy that is reflected in the work I do and in how I treat those I meet.

I only saw Miss Lucy’s picture this morning, but I met a Miss Mary at the Waffle House. She smiled and waited on us. She has waited on us before. I know she is carrying burdens; we all do, but she serves graciously. She brightened my morning.

I hope you get the chance to meet a Miss Lucy or a Miss Mary, and I hope I can follow their example as I walk through each day.

Colossians 3: 17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Colossians 3: 23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

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