Much as I love it, this place isn't so great for my ego.
Five-year-old girl to me today: "You're the very best lady ever."
On a more serious note, her name was Olliyah and her words meant all the more to me after she told me her mom "lived in the sky, up in heaven."
The dad, Walter, takes care of Olliyah and her two older brothers. They're the kind of kids that may live in bad surroundings but the surroundings don't live in them. They were quality kids, and stole my heart from the minute I knocked on their door and met them this morning.
After inviting them to the Braves baseball game we're taking 75 kids to Tuesday (I think I'm more excited than the kids), I told them they should come ride the big white bus with me to church tomorrow morning. (I do bus ministry every Sunday a.m.)
Just before I left, the youngest boy, Jaharra, said, "Now, you'll really be there tomorrow, right? Because you shouldn't make promises you aren't going to keep." He didn't say it in a bratty, know-it-all way, but more like he was asking to guard himself against a promise that might not be kept. He's probably used to too many promises that don't ever come through.
It reminded me of the first little girl I ever met on bus route. (The same little girl who first started labeling me "barbie doll." It's stuck.) Within a moment of meeting her, she admired my necklace and asked if I could bring her a bracelet the next week.
The next week, she was the first one on the bus. She ran up to me and asked if I had her bracelet. I did. She looked up at me with the biggest smile I'd ever seen (I've since seen SO many of those precious smiles) and before throwing her arms around me said, "You remembered... You kept your promise!"
I will never make another promise to someone that I won't do everything in my power (and anyone else's power I can find) to keep.
Just as I expected, these kids are teaching me just as much and more than I could ever teach them.