Life lesson: Being Grateful
The other day I went to drop off my laundry at a local laundromat. The lady greeted me with her usual big smile took my things and weighed them and proceeded to make the receipt with the computer. Drifting away momentarily, I imagined that if I were asked to describe her, I don’t think that I could find anything negative to say about her. She is one of the sweetest people who I have ever met. I’ve never seen her without a smile on her face and she is always extremely sociable and outgoing when I stop by even willing to make small talk with me for a few minutes when she is working.
As she handed me the receipt she said with her pleasant accent, “Now you’re finished for the day, me, I am not.” As I took the receipt and listened to her, I watched as her face changed briefly from her jovial disposition to a slight frown as if to ponder what her life would be like if she were finished at that moment for the day. Here is a woman who has immigrated half way across the world under unknown circumstances to work 12 hour days at 6 days a week in a job were she likely brings home little more than enough to cover her monthly expenses in a city like New York. The most amazing part of it all, is that she does it all smiling, well except for this instance.
I know that there is more to the story than this, but for some reason that instance left me with a feeling of deep gratefulness and respect as I walked home that evening. I was grateful for the life experiences that I have been so fortunate to have. Grateful for the things that I have been given whether tangible or intangible. Things that few in the world will ever see or know. Things, such as free time, that I often treat nonchalantly, while seen as a huge luxury to others. We never know really, what our lives could have been like if we’d been born somewhere else, or born to a different family. What if we were the first generation immigrants who had to go through the struggles, sacrifices, and pressures that so many face daily? I was overwhelmed with a sense of respect for this woman and people like her, who work extremely hard so that their children might have a better life. As I’ve watched her in the past, she still manages to pass on her love and energy to her children who play with toy cars and draw while their mother washes seemingly endless piles of dirty clothes and sheets. I don’t know this woman too well on a personal level; she may be happy and content; she may not be, but that isn’t the point here.
We mustn’t forget to remind ourselves of the many things that we have to be grateful for in life and to respect those who do all jobs as every job in this world is important and contributes to the whole.