Do you care?

Broken WindowWhen someone comes into our lives for a season, sometimes you get far more from them than what they take. That was the case with Sergio, a Hispanic boarder who spent five months in my home. I’ve spent a lot of time in contemplation over Sergio, after he left, and now I’m ready to tell you what I learned most from Sergio. I learned I care. However, it’s not the type of personal caring you might be thinking of, no it’s something quite unusual that I never noticed until I saw it manifested in Sergio’s every move within my household. You see, I didn’t understand it at first, but Sergio cares. About me? Not so much. I think he cares about life, and that’s what truly puzzled me.

Taking Time To Notice And Heal The Past

You see, Sergio had some odd personal habits that I realized were to my advantage to emulate, but no one had ever modeled them for me. I explained to him when he first came into the household and he started discovering broken items hidden away in cupboards, closets, and sheds, that I knew they were broken. It pained me so much to be unable to fix them, that I hid them away rather than have to look at them. Then, I would forget about them, until something else broke. I attributed this behavior to a lack of money, but Sergio just shook his head and took it upon himself to start to clear out all my cupboards, my closets, my sheds, and one by one fix everything. The broken weed eater: Fixed. The broken pipe: Fixed. The broken washing machine: Fixed. Then, came the cleaning and re-organizing. My daughter said to me:  “Sergio’s obssesive-compulsive.” I told her in all seriousness that he was giving us a gift and that we should pay attention, appreciate it, and try to emulate these behaviors instead of criticizing them. However, I too was puzzled for a while.

Why Don’t We Do It Ourselves?

Finally, Sergio sat me down and asked me why I never did these things myself, and I told him the truth. I had no idea how to. No one had ever taught me to care. In the garden, for instance, I had tried to grow tomatoes the previous year and failed miserably. It wasn’t until he told me to be careful with the watering that I realized my mistake with all my vegetables: I had to water underneath the plant in the morning or in late afternoon instead of mid-day so as not to get water on the leaves and have them burned when the mid-day sun evaporated on them. No one ever told me that, until he came in. Instead, what made the most sense to me was that the plants were “thirsty” in the middle of the day when the sun was brightest, and they would be cooler if I sprayed them all over, thus effectively killing off all my vegetables. All I had to do was take more care, not earn more money or waste more water, and I found I produced more than enough to eat during the summer months.

The Spiritual Lesson Of Poverty

Where did Sergio learn all this? He grew up dirt poor in Mexico, the eldest of four children from a single mother who worked in a factory to support them. His grandparents had orchards to sustain them. However, he was so poor, his school backpack was his mother’s worn out purses and he had no shoes. From this life of what we consider extreme poverty in the US, he learned to care for each and every little thing in his life. He learned to appreciate it and make it last. He learned to fix it, when it broke. I can’t help but think that this is what is missing in our American culture. We’ve forgotten how to care in the same way that Sergio cares. Millions of Americans are facing hard financial times. Instead of cursing the darkness, let’s look at how we can care more about our lives. If we would open our hearts and look at everything from the smallest blade of grass to the large houses we live in, and really care in a deep and intimate way that respects all of life, I’m sure even a lack of money would be no obstacle to creating a life of pure joy and perfection.

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One response to “Do you care?

  1. Heartfelt and human story

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