Sunday, February 5, 2017

Burdens Of Life: A Story

So there I was, wallowing in sorrow about something that was beyond control. But work needs to be done, people need their daily bread, terrorists need to be stopped - you gotta do what you gotta do, and so you keep going at whatever it is you are after.

Sitting in one corner of the pantry trying to shut shop early on a cold Friday afternoon. And she calls out surprised in barely understandable English, "This is expired... This should go into trash!"


I looked up. Redhead. Barely 5 feet tall. Pretty face, surprised like a little child that someone would actually waste food.


Cute, petite, and quite attractive for a mother of three kids - a 16 year old boy, a 10 year old daughter, and another 6 year old girl. Smiling face, clear skin, and lovely eyes.


Lovely eyes that were dressed in kohl that had a depth to them. One extra second of peering into those depths, and you'd see pain. A strength fueled by that pain, and a few layers underneath, a heart with something worth dying for.


I can't recall now how we got to talking to each other, but I presume she heard me thank somebody for always keeping a blushy-smiley face. She comes over and starts chatting using some Spanish-laden English and some Google Translate, about how her 10 year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer back home in South America and her husband left her and the children to fend for themselves after that. How she wanted to give her sick child a chance to fight back and how it brought her to America a few years ago. She then showed me pictures of her girl, hip length dark hair, all grown back after the chemotherapy. Smiling as if nothing ever happened. Lisa said her daughter wants to be a doctor when she grows up. A beautiful picture of her teenager son hugging her tight who has promised her that he will never leave her like his daddy did. 


I tell her, teary eyed, happy and grateful, "Lisa, you are a great mother and you have a very beautiful smile." 


I swear she does have a very sweet smile. She practically half blushes each time she smiles.


She is a janitor and doesn't make as much as most of us corporate professionals do. She has a bigger heart and a stronger will than most of us do. She has seen more than many of us, yet has not forgotten how to smile and blush. She has still not lost her innocence and child-like curiosity.




And we think we have problems.




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