Unexpected Encounter with the Cleaning Ladies!

I'm daydreaming and looking out the window as I sit on today's afternoon train home. A question surfaced up out of my quiet reverie: How do I want to live my life?

As I reflected on it, I recalled an incident that occurred when I was backpacking in the Whitsunday Coast and checking into a hostel room. I smile at the thought that God can teach us seemingly little yet crucial life lessons through the most mundane situations or through the people you'd least expect to have a meaningful encounter with. 

Anyway, that day up in Whitsunday, I checked into my dorm room and found that there were two other girls just chilling on some bunk beds while a few cleaner ladies were finishing up the morning clean up of our room.

I had been lugging my backpack and guitar; I was exhausted and definitely not in the mood of talking to anyone. But I noticed the cleaning ladies and they appeared to be Filipino. I chucked down my stuff and decided to make conversation with them!

I cheerily went, 'Hi! Are you all from the Philippines? You have a strong American accent & I know Filipinos speak that way when they speak in English!'

You should have seen the look of surprise and then delight on their faces! Maybe they didn't expect any of these backpackers kiddos to bother talking with the cleaning ladies. Maybe it was because the other two girls appeared unfriendly or indifferent toward them before I arrived. But from there we started chatting quite heartily and asking about each other's backgrounds and families, etcetera.

They were SO jovial and friendly. Definitely friendlier than any fellow backpacker I'd met on the road so far! It made my day. And now I shake my head with a chuckle at the thought that this passing incident is what I'd consider one of the 'hightlights' or learning points of my one-month solo trip.

They introduced themselves and asked my name. Then they noticed my guitar and quite literally squealed with delight! I offered to show it to them and they requested me to sing a song. I knew Filipinos love music!

Before they left, they thanked me heartily for talking with them and being such a friendly backpacker. It was only a small encounter. But I gleaned a few insights from it. These wonderful ladies were so kindly and hardworking. They went about their duties with such good spirits and positive attitudes. I felt so much respect and admiration for them. I thanked them in return for cleaning my room with such happiness and care.

I learnt that there is always blessing in reaching out to people with love. I learnt the importance of always - always - acknowledging people for their presence and for their work. No matter how seemingly small or irrelevant it may appear by the standards of the world. Because Jesus did not conform to the world's standards or social norms or rules of segregation! He set a standard that was above it all.

I guess that's how I want to live. Doing everything that I do with love, with excellence, with thankfulness, with care, with integrity. And always being open to others.

~ J a n i e ll e

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