I went to have a pedicure and manicure last Sunday. A very lovely Asian woman greeted me and began to work on my feet. I could only imagine what she must have been thinking about my neglected feet. My last pedicure was at the beginning of September. I decided not to worry about it as I whipped out my O Magazine.
Just when the article about Oprah’s favorite things was getting interesting, the nail technician asked me if I worked. Without looking up I answered, “Yes”.
“What do you do?” She asked.
I briefly looked up from the magazine and politely stated, “I am a pharmacist and I own a fitness company”. Back down to the magazine.
“Where did you go to school?’
(Nice girl smile)–OK so my plans of relaxation were so NOT materializing. I decided to close my magazine and answer her questions. After she asked me what seemed like a million questions about my pharmacy career, she put her head down and then informed me that she is a pharmacist in Vietnam. Really?
I asked her a few questions and learned that to work as a pharmacist in the US she would need to pass an equivalency exam to prove her pharmacy knowledge and be proficient in English (reading, writing, and speaking). It is the proficient in English part that would be the most difficult for her. Her most probable option to ever realize her dream of working as a pharmacist int the US is to start all over. Uggggh.
Just thinking about starting all over made me ache for her.
I sat back and listened to her talk. Although her name tag says “Kelly”, that is not her real name. “Kelly” does nails for survival. She came to the US six months ago not speaking a lick of English with the hope of making a better life for her two boys ages six and eight. The boys are still in Vietnam with her mother. Double uggh. She attends a local community college during the morning and does nails every evening and on weekends.
She doesn’t drive so her husband has to take her everywhere. He does not work. They argue a lot. She looked me right in the eyes and said, ” I am so tired”.
My eyes welled up with tears.
She saw the compassion in my eyes and she said: “I felt really sad earlier but I am so thankful to have met you. No one here has ever treated me like you have”. Y’all, I came completely unglued in the pedicure chair. I felt so convicted. I was already having to pump myself up about going to work the next day. This woman would give ANYTHING to be in my shoes and she feels thankful to have met ME? I didn’t feel like I did anything except listen.
That is when it hit me. My purpose for coming to the salon was to have a relaxing pedicure. God’s purpose was me to be “PRESENT” and encourage one of his hurting daughters by just listening.
We hugged when it was time for me to leave. I wanted to take her home with me, talk to whatever immigration people I needed to and then fly her back to Vietnam to get her children. Somehow we both knew that was an unrealistic expectation. I pressed twenty dollars and my business card into her palm. She walked me to the door and watched me as I got into my car. I waved to her as I pulled away.
Please watch over this beautiful woman as she continues to persevere for her family. As the Christmas season rushes towards me with all of the parties, presents, and meals, help me to remember to be PRESENT. I cannot do what you need me to do if I am distracted. It makes me sad to think of all of the opportunities I may have missed to show your love to someone. Keep my mind focused on what is the best use of my time that aligns with your will.
This post is part of a weekly meme hosted by Shell @ Things I can’t say.