Saturday, March 31, 2007

Lourdes


A wonderful woman, native to Bolivia, came into my life a couple of years ago- Lourdes is her name. She surprised me today and stayed at my friend Wendy's house waiting for my arrival. When I walked in the door, she embraced me and cried, for what seemed an eternity, telling me of how much she has missed me and she loves me. Lourdes cleaned my house when we lived in Riverdale. Every other week she arrived at the Hyattsville Metro, ready to pour all of her energy into the sloppy three bedroom bungalow we called home. Lourdes worked harder than anyone I'd ever met in my whole life. At the end of the day, I paid her and sent her on her way, her 2 year-old daughter in tow. All of us, Tom, Lily, Liam, Ben, and I, grew to love her, like a family member and were sorry to part with her lovely spirit when we got the transfer to Pittsburgh. Yet I haven't kept in touch with her and wonder why I have allowed the language barrier that I feel get in the way of loving her like I do my other friends. As I stood in her presence this evening, I felt shame, not only for the fact that I hadn't written or called as promised (a year and a half ago), but that she could express so much affection for lowly me- me whose toilets she scrubbed with earnest, who doesn't deserve, in all honesty, to be treated with such tenderness, by a woman, who by all accounts, is closer to God than human. I believe this with all my heart. Those of us privileged white folks, employing people of diversity to do our dirty work, don't see how far away we are from the kingdom of heaven. In all of our imperialism, feeling that our dollars are payment enough, we fail to see that it is within the humility of souls like Lourdes that Jesus resides- and until we humble ourselves and live at that level- we may never see Christ as he truly exists...Matthew 19:24 "....it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God."

So, then, what do we do? Those of us who live comfortable middle-class lives? Do we scrub our own toilets, toiling from dusk 'til dawn, in effort to see more clearly the Lord who makes his home with the poor? Matthew 5:3-10 "God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs....God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth... I am, by no means, wealthy. I grew up on the poorer side of middle-class, knowing my fair share of lower-income living. Even in our modest home, in our upper-income neighborhood, we are most likely among the bottom dwellers of our neighbors, just making ends meet, paycheck-to-paycheck. But, in relation to the world, we are rich. I hunger for a closer walk with the Lord but know that my number one downfall is my love of things- my enchantment with money- my unwillingness to do without.

This I will pray fervently about- hoping, of course, in all my humanness (sin) that I can hang on to my status, while finding other ways to be a "good" christian.

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Forty-three year-old, mother and staunch advocate of four young children, passionate warrior of truth and self, finding the soul in each day, sharing my struggles and triumphs as I live them. Mostly I do this for me, so my thoughts don't race as much at night as they used to. But I also give this to those of you who need to know, in any or every way, that you are not alone.

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