Life in Hanoi

humility, service and inspiration

Twice a week, our househelper comes to our apartment to clean and do some house chores. Twice a week, she appears at our front door and greets me with a smile. Twice a week, I see her diligently sweep the floor, do the laundry and even cook for us occasionally. Today she came and did the same thing for us.

I just finished a report this afternoon and had nothing else to do. I thought of going to the gym then I saw a pile of clothes on my bed for ironing. At first I thought, “oh she’d do it after she’s finished everything outside”. Then I looked at the clock and it was almost 4pm but our househelper is still not done with some chores in the kitchen. I decided to do it myself to help her out and so she can go home earlier than usual.While I was ironing, I thought of her. She’s in her 50s and whenever I see her, I can see how she does her work really well. Our house would be extra clean and tidy, the fridge would be full of sliced fruits in bowls and I can totally smell a job done with sincerity and love every single time. When she’s done, I’d be left totally amazed.

At 4:30pm, I was still ironing one piece after another when she came in and offered to do it. I just smiled and said “It’s okay, it’s okay”. I was extremely touched when I saw her put her hand on her chest and expressed her gratitude the simplest way she can in English, “Thank you, kat. Thank you.” Then she went outside. I thought she was already going home but then she came back in my room and showed a small bowl of guava fruits. She was saying something in Vietnamese while doing some sign language stating that she’s giving it to me. All I can say was “Thank you”.

I FELT EXTREMELY BLESSED. Fruits here in Hanoi are quite expensive so I can imagine how much she could have spent for it. She could have just given it to her family or to her kids or grandchildren but she chose to give it to me. I thought, “maybe she’ll have to go home now with no pasalubong for her family :(“. For someone who lives a humble life, how much could it have cost her — literally and figuratively.  I was reminded of the story of the widow’s offering in the Bible (Luke 21:1-4). It’s true. More than the fancy things I received, I felt especially grateful and happy receiving that simple gift from our helper.

I decided to iron the pile of clothes with the intention of blessing her today by doing her a small favor. What I didn’t expect was for things to turn around. I was actually the one blessed by her sincerity, generosity and kindness. She might not know it but through her service, she inspired me to do things excellently and with love no matter how small it may be.

I realized how the most important life lessons may not be learned through the teachings of professors or influential people. Truly, people that the society usually neglects and looks down on are actually the greatest life teachers and inspirations. I realize how I still lack in so many ways. I still have a lot of things to learn and change.

The picture of her going home early to rest and spend more time with her family makes me smile :) Yay! I’ve been praying to God for the past few days that He’ll transform my heart into flesh, a heart like Jesus, full of compassion and love. I’ve been praying that I would be able to serve others like Jesus did and that I’d do everything with love. Indeed, Jesus taught me all these things through the life of this humble woman. Thank you God, for such a wonderful opportunity to bless and be blessed. Thank you God for this season of breaking, molding and transforming.

If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.
— Mark 9:35

Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,
and whoever wants to be first must be your slave — just as the Son of Man
did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
— Matthew 20: 26-28

Let’s not forget to always radiate the very heart of Jesus every single day. Do something for someone, smile at a stranger, bless and be blessed!

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3 thoughts on “humility, service and inspiration”

  1. Wow what a beautiful, precious story. Thank you for sharing. You have the most beautiful heart friend. Thank you for always sharing such wisdom and truth! love you!

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