Monday, 05 March 2012
By Amy at Make Me a Mary
There’s a cleaning lady at my school who comes in every day around 3:45 to empty the trash. She speaks very little English and I speak only a tiny bit of Spanish, but we try to talk sometimes anyway.
Not long ago we had an entire conversation about green tea, which was sparked because of the used tea bags she saw in my trash can.
I learned that she likes to drink green tea because it helps her lose weight, and I told her I drink it for the same reason but I don’t really like it. She said she likes to put lemon in her tea, and I said I don’t drink it around bedtime because it has caffeine. She asked me where I buy mine and I told her sometimes Aldi but usually just wherever, and then I sent a few bags of my brand home with her.
I have no idea how we said all that to each other, but I remember it involved lots of hand motions.
A few months ago she was in my office one day, and I noticed that she paused from emptying my trash. I looked up and saw her staring at a picture of my kids on the wall.
And then she started crying.
And it broke my heart. I wondered what she was thinking. Who was she missing? Has she lost a child? Do her kids still live in Mexico? Does she get to see them or talk to them? I had no words, of course, so I just stood up and patted her on the back.
I’m sure I’ll never know why she cried that day looking at that picture of my kids, but I learned something about love.
It knows no barriers—language or otherwise. She can love me by coming in every day to serve me with a smile that lights up her face while she empties my trash and dusts my library and refills my soap dispenser, and I can love her by smiling back and sharing my tea and patting her on the back when her heart is hurting.
And we never even have to say a word.
Many people mistake our work for our vocation.
Our vocation is the love of Jesus. -Mother Teresa