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Isaac slowly brought his car to a stop at the suburban cross street. He was surprised at how tired he felt—he thought “emotionally beaten” accurately described his condition. He planned the day away from his small business to file more city paperwork, meet with his tax consultant and pick up newly printed brochures from a local copy center. What the day dealt was a filing fee, a sizable retainer fee and a misprint. That was not all. When he called his office to see how things were going, he learned that that no new business had come in, likely the result of the reported three-hour interruption in Internet service. He was feeling discouraged. This day resembled the disenchantment of yesterday, which resembled the day before that, which resembled the day before that.
He blinked twice and found himself back behind his car steering wheel. It felt like he had paused at this cross street for days. Consciously, he agreed that there was nothing left to do but head northbound for home so he continued navigating through the neighborhood tree-lined roads.
He thought about how easy it sounded to give up his security services company for a nine-to-five but his heart protested with dread. It believed discontinuing his business was tantamount to relinquishing his potential. So while he felt stressed with the difficulties of self-employment, it was a position he re-committed himself to existing in for the time being.
He drearily approached another cross street. On the northwest corner ahead of him stood a lemonade stand. Three small children were present, two positioned behind the counter alert and ready for a thirsty throng, the third looking longingly at the glass pitcher filled with chilled sweetened fruit drink. The scene swelled his heart with such warm nostalgia that he decidedly pulled over to his right, exited the car and crossed the street with two long strides and a smile.
He playfully stated how a cup of lemonade would help him on his travels. The two business owners looked at each other with surprise then coordinated their efforts to fulfill their opportunity—it required two of them to lift the full pitcher. Golden liquid hit the bottom of the paper cup like a drum and carelessly splashed over the rim with abundance. The third child thirstily watched as Isaac raised the cup to his mouth—his tongue agreed with the sugar while his jowls tingled at the tart lemon. All three children giggled as Isaac animatedly licked his lips and patted his belly. When he asked for another cup, the third child ran in a circle with excitement before returning to watch the two proprietors hefting the decanter for another purchase. The children watched wide-eyed as he threw back his second serving.
Reaching into his pocket he asked for the amount he owed them. He momentarily paused with surprise at how much the price of lemonade had increased since his own childhood but he gladly paid with an additional tip for their generous servings. He gave them a modest bow and warmly expressed that it was his honor to patronize their business. As he walked across the street towards his car he overheard them clapping and squealing with exhilaration, for at their tender age they successfully accomplished two sales and received a positive customer review! He drove away imagining how they would dance in their achievement and chatter with excitement at tonight’s dinner tables.
Twenty minutes later he pulled into his own drive. He turned the motor off and sat in his car for a final thought. He shook his head and smiled at his memory of the lemonade stand realizing that those children sold him much more than a drink. The exhilarating, gracious world they perceived was the same one he lived in. This truth rejuvenated him. His optimism for his own business venture, and for his entire future for that matter, was strong again. He felt grateful for his life, for his courage and for his independence. No, they definitely provided him with much more than lemonade!
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