By Merrilee of Solana,

Little Miss Lilly lives alone in a modest town in a modest home. Everyday she works at a little nail shop on the corner, tending to the hands and feet of others. Her days start early and end when the last has gone home. She never asks for much and gives much more than expected.

After work, she heads home to enjoy a short break and a change of clothes before going out to help her neighbor tend to his garden. All year she’s helped him plow the dirt, and sow the seeds for the next season’s harvest. In the evening when it gets too dark to work any longer, Miss Lilly goes home to rest and eat a little dinner. Sitting in her chair, she sees her hands so rough and her nails dirty and broken. With a deep breath, she closes her eyes and prays, hoping for the day that life gets a little easier.

When the week is over, Miss Lilly cooks for the church on Sundays. Everyone loves her special beans, cornbread, and apple cake. She’s perfected these recipes having only a few ingredients to make them delicious. Even still, her reputation for having specialty items has spread through the neighborhood, attracting those who have never tasted her delicious food. Most of the time there isn’t a morsel left over. After church, she would go home tired and hungry.

Little Miss Lilly is Nadia’s best friend. They met at church when Nadia was having trouble in her marriage. Nadia would come to talk with Miss Lilly every chance she could knowing that her friend would listen without judgment. No matter how long the day, or how tired Miss Lilly was, she would find the energy to sit, listen, and be a friend. There were many times when Miss Lilly didn’t have any energy left over to prepare herself a meal or bathe before returning to work the next day. Tired and alone, she would pray for life to get easier.

After her divorce, Nadia starting dating again. She was consumed with her freedom and getting to know all the men she wasn’t allowed to before. Her friendship with Miss Lilly was that of convenience each time Nadia suffered another heartbreak, she knew her friend would be there to listen. Little Miss Lilly continued to give of herself even though the friendship offered little in return.

Little Miss Lilly continued to work on her neighbor’s garden. Every day after work, she would go out to the field, plow the dirt, sow the seeds, and bring water to help the plants grow. When it came time to harvest, she expected that her neighbor would share the abundance for her contribution. Unfortunately, her neighbor didn’t provide her with anything. Instead, he sold the harvest to others for a prophet.

Little Miss Lilly lays alone in her bed. She longs for another to hold her and tell her she’s loved. Her heartache is sometimes too much to bear as she looks at her aging, hard-working hands, and wonders who would be willing to hold them. Again she prays for life to get easier, wondering when she will have given enough to be worthy of love and favor.

The moral of the story; Tend to your own garden. Love yourself first.



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  1. We have lived next to the same neighbor for 32 years. Our 3 children & their 6 grew up together. The Husband & wife of the 6 were always run away parents, always finding somewhere to go by air travel & leaving her mother to tend the children for long weekends. We ourselves always were there as a neighbor, sharing homemade food, my oldest daughter would babysit the youngest 2, who were twins. As the twins grew up they would come over & swim with my son who was 1 year older. As my son was shy & appreciated having friends. But as they all turned into teen years, I had caught the 2 twin girls making terrible fun of my son in the upstairs of our window. It broke my heart, for he did not realize they were being cruel. Things went down hill after that. So yes, always tend your own first, there were times I overlooked my oldest daughter feelings of not wanting to babysit, as she told me later she was not even getting paid. There were other times I had my husband doing physical labor for these clowns, while he had his own tending to do.

  2. This is truly an uplifting and upbeat story about woman who understands the nature of love and sharing. I am proud to know that such people actually exist in the heart of a world that has mostly gone mad. Blessings to her for many acts of kindness. May they be paid back tenfold. She is a saint in action.

    • Saints do not regreat. We’re all fooled with the “iam good trap” egos playing the role filled with interest, destroying universal laws with sweets actions and fake smiles. Yes, hard to see therefore extremlly dangerous. Peace.

  3. Thank you, such a beautifully written story and a simple message, with Little Miss Lilly who represents all the other Little Miss Lillies in the world. There are those, who can do the work Little Miss Lilly does, and still feel fulfilled inside. I believe that possible when the affinity with yourself in your heart is present and felt. I guess that’s what creates a sense of healthy boundaries too. I know of martyrdom, feeling proud of sacrifice, and I know of superiority, feeling too good for this… or above… that. It gets better though, with the help of trying times?


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