So today was an interesting day. I woke somehow feeling stressy and pressed for time. I don’t have a full-time job, my kids are grown and happy, my husband is wonderful yet I felt sorry somehow for myself. Aww..poor me. So I ran to Wally World and after checking out noticed that the nail salon wasn’t busy so I really needed a pedicure and I thought it would make me feel better. Heck, I deserved it!!!
So I climb up in the chair and the lady doing my well deserved pedi turns on the massage thingy and I put my feet in the bubbly warm water and lean back. The nice lady starts to work and I feel the stress leaving my body. We begin to visit and I ask her a few questions and then somehow she begins to tell me the story of her life. At first I had a hard time understanding her English and would have to stop her and ask her to repeat what she said. Then I became so interested and touched I clung to every word.
She told me of her and her husbands escape from Vietnam with 8 (yes I said 8!) small children. How the communist took over and lied to the people, how her husband had been forced to work in the mines with little food and beatings for months on end. How they took her parents home and her mother was so upset she died of a massive heart attack. How her sisters daughters were raped by the government soldiers. About their decision to run.
Then she tells me of coming to American with 8 hungry children, 4 were his and 4 were hers and his. She tells a touching story of how they made it to Houston. They could speak very little English and were starving to death and had to find work. How they somehow met a wonderful lady named Eva and she gave her a job cleaning her home and then they helped her husband get a job mowing lawns. This wonderful woman helped her find other houses to clean and then encouraged her to learn to do nails. That is what she did…for 15 years…from 7 am-9 pm everyday but Sunday. She cleaned all day and did nails at night. The children….well the oldest took care of the youngest. They survived and were so happy and blessed. She said this like 10 times….they were so blessed. You see this Eva lady, she took them to church. She taught them about God. She had a sports car and would take 2 children at a time and buy them shoes. Then one day, she traded her car in for a van so she could pick up the children and buy them all clothes and shoes. Every Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter she brought them all food and at Christmas gave them all presents. She even sent her and her husband on a vacation for a week, kept the children and took them to Sea World!
I commented that she was an angel. She again told me how blessed she was, how lucky they were to have made it to America. I felt about an inch tall. I asked about her family now. She explains that her husband left and went back to Vietnam. She moved to Lubbock several years ago with her son while he went to school. You see….ALL of her children are college graduates. One of her sons is a doctor and works in the ER here. Her other son is in his last year of residency at UMC. Her daughter got her degree and moved back to Houston and married. Her youngest just graduated. Amazing! Then she tells me that the woman Eva was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. Before she died, her and her 4 children all saved and put their money together, drove to Houston and gave her and her husband a trip to Hawaii. Eva took pictures from a helicopter flight and sent them all pictures. She passed away 6 months ago. Tears were pouring down my face, not as much from this sweet woman passing (because she is definitely in heaven) but from being humbled. So humbled. As she scrubs my feet, she tells ME how much she appreciates ME and how wonderful and easy her life is now.
God put this sweet, hard-working Vietnamese woman in my path today. She is blessed. She blessed me.
I had the privilege of keeping my 2 healthy, precious grand babies tonight. We all went to bed with full stomachs, snuggled safely in our warm beds in a beautiful home. I am blessed. I am truly blessed and I know it. My prayers will be different tonight……