Friday, April 6, 2007

The Best is Yet to Come

It was my first meaningful conversation in Spanish.

Sometimes I wonder why I work so hard at learning a language that I don’t have to learn, and I understand why most people choose not to. Sometimes I wonder if there is a reason why I am so passionate about this world, and languages, and other cultures. Then last night, finally, I found affirmation in the form of a busboy at work.

He’s a quiet guy, looks like he’s in his late 20’s or so, and we haven’t spoken much before, except for the occasional hello, and even then, only in Spanish.As I was cleaning tables last night, he walked by. “Como fue tu semana? (How was your week?)” I asked him as he picked up his broom and began to sweep under the tables. We started talking, and he looked a little more bummed out than usual, so I asked him if he was sad. He nodded, and for the next fifteen minutes we talked about where he was from in Mexico, and how he left his wife and little boy behind so he could come here to the United States and provide for them. He wakes up before the sun rises every morning, and gets home around midnight.

He doesn’t have days off. He doesn’t buy new things when he gets his paychecks. He sleeps in a small apartment with several other people he works with. I have many Mexican immigrant friends, and I know that most of them live in this same situation, so the story was nothing new, to me at least. But last night it struck me in a completely new way.

It just made me so excited for the day when I know God is going to bring an awesome man into my life, and it made me hopeful that I will find someone as true as my friend: that he would be willing to do anything to make sure I was provided for. I’m not saying I want the man I end up with to move far away in order to do that… but I thought ‘what a perfect picture of what a husband or wife should be like.’

Willing to sacrifice it all to take care of each other, ready to do whatever it takes to invest in the future, even if it means things being difficult for awhile. I’m sure he doesn’t get to talk to his wife and little boy every day, and I’m sure sometimes he wonders if when he gets back things will be the way he always imagined. But he has faith in what he cannot see.

We talked for a few minutes more, and I told him about where I was from, and some of the places I have been able to see in the world and what they were like. For the first time, words just came easily to me. Our manager walked by and told us we were lazy bums. We smiled, and as we both got back to work my new friend smiled at me and said (in Spanish) ‘Your Spanish is very good. Don’t give up on studying it.” And I walked away feeling more fulfilled and just… aware of the nature of things than I have in a very long time. Satified.

I am going somewhere. I am going to make a difference. I am passionately in love with finding ways to change the world from where I'm at. And someday, someone is going to fall head over heels in love with that part of my personality. Knowing this, coupled with the fact that I finally feel like I'm getting to a point in my Spanish where I can truly communicate... just made me feel butterflies all over.

Life is such a gift.

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