The other night my husband and I were talking about people who inspire us (occasionally we talk about things other than our toddler). I loved my husband's answers and I love that we can still surprise each other, even though we know one other so well. But our conversation made me want to write a tribute to a special lady.
Obviously the normal names came to my mind... Martin Luther Jr King for his ability to lead (especially after watching Selma recently), Nelson Mandela for his ability to forgive, my mom for her ability to love and Jesus for His love, grace, and changing the world. But then I thought of someone else who has been an inspiration to me. She is not known by many people and she never will be, but I think she is an inspirational woman and she touches our family's lives in many ways.
Sunita first came to our house about 3 years ago. I just had an interview with another cleaning lady with really strict eyes and I was supposed to talk to her about her salary (which I am horrible at), and she convinced me what I was offering (more than the recommended salary) was not good enough for her. I was about to give in and offer her more money because somehow I always feel guilty about everything (like being more fortunate than some people and actually being able to have someone who can help me clean), but my husband kindly reminded me that we had agreed on the salary for a reason. Then I met Sunita and I immediately knew she was the right person. She had such kind eyes and she was so happy to find someone to work for as she has been struggling for a while to get a job.
So for the past three years I have gotten to know this remarkable woman. Someone who is so much less fortunate than me but always comes to work with a beautiful smile, caring about what is going on in my life, worrying if I look tired, or if I am eating enough, always asking how each and every member of my (very large) family is doing, and since a year ago always ecstatically happy to see Xander and singing to him and chatting to him as if he is the only person in the room.
She has so little and yet once a week she brings something for us, from her garden or that she found at the market and that she knows Xander will enjoy. She buys little gifts for my family when they come and visit and she loves to surprise me and my husband with a thoughtful gift for Christmas, or just because.
I know her life is not easy, and she has shared some of her problems with me and I have seen her tears. But never once has it effected her joyful nature at work, her (almost too loud) singing, which Xander loves and how she cares about me and Jaco and wanting to help us in any way possible.
She cleans our home and she helps me take care of my little boy every now and then, and she is so proud of her work and she does it to the best of her abilities. Her skills might not be valued enough in this screwed up world and its estimation of success and rankings of people. But to me she is a real inspiration of someone who is making the most of the life God has given to her, who can stay joyful no matter what the circumstances are and who always put others' needs in front of her own.
I hope to be more like her when I grow up...