Monday, September 1, 2014

Maid...or Guest? Should It Matter? (& Max & Makeya Update)

"Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak:
for your work shall be rewarded." 
2 Chronicles 15:7

We recently checked into one of the higher-end hotel chain facilities
to find that our bathroom had obviously not been cleaned.
There was a used soap bar and a used shampoo container in the bathtub.
Not to mention hair in several places in and around the tub,
on the bathroom floor, and on the toilet.
Need I say more or provide a more descriptive explanation?
After discovering it, I had immediately gone downstairs to the front desk and told the clerk about it.

"I will clean it, if you will just give me the supplies", I told her.

Cleaning is nothing new to me.
It is not something I mind.
I find great joy in cleaning our home, and Kevin and I have cleaned for many other people through the years.
Scrubbing a stranger's toilet is not anything I am above doing.

Mom & Dad taught me the value of hard work when I was very young.
They took on several part-time cleaning endeavors to supplement our income,
and I grew up knowing it was my duty to go and help them and pull my own weight.
They instilled in me that there is no shame in getting my hands dirty,
and it didn't matter what the work consisted of....
what mattered is that I earned the money I received,
that I did the best possible job I could do,
and that I didn't go through life with an entitlement mindset, 
expecting things to be handed to me.

I have seen both of them dive in to some of the most challenging, nastiest messes,
and not stop until everything was shining like new.
I could never thank them enough for their work ethic,
because I learned mine through their example.

They also taught me to never look down on anyone else....
regardless of what they did for a living.
Dad worked hard nearly all of his life,
tackling the most menial and undesirable jobs you could imagine.
I have never seen him turn up his nose or think he was better than anyone else.
When I say Dad was raised dirt-poor, it is probably the understatement of all time.
Dad, his three brothers, seven sisters, and both parents lived in a tiny, ramshackle house
with cracks in the floor so big, they could feed the chickens under the house from the inside.
Though Dad had only an 8th grade education, 
he was one of the wisest, most unassuming, humble men I have ever known.
He had to literally do whatever he had to do in order to survive.
Because of seeing him suffer and work until his clothes were drenched from neck to ankle with sweat,
I have learned a real appreciation and compassion for anyone who has to work so hard.

I could never in a million years mistreat or look down upon anyone.
It hurts me to the core to see people act superior to others, for whatever reason, 
but especially solely based upon what they are forced to do to provide for themselves and their families.

Not everyone was born with a silver spoon in their mouth.
Can anyone help it or control the station and lot into which they are born?

You don't want to get me started on this subject!
Once I step up onto my soapbox,
I may never step back down!!
Ever since I was a little girl,
I have been a champion of the poor...
because we were poor.
I have been a defender of the underdog,
because being an underdog myself, I know how it feels....
to stand in the grocery check-out line, embarrassed beyond words to watch Mom pull out food stamps 
to pay for our groceries, as the well-to-do and snobby standing in line behind us turned up their noses in disgust,
to be made fun of for the way I dressed,
to feel so sorry for Mom and Dad as they had to go through life unable to afford the dental work
 and dentures they so desperately needed,
to feel the sting from haughty stares as we pulled into the church parking lot
 in our old, dilapidated vehicles,...
I could go on and say more, but you get the picture.
I remember one particular car that used to make me feel like sinking downward, out of sight,
and crawling onto the floor board each time I had to ride in it.
It was Dad's big, old, white Oldsmobile that used a LOT of oil.
It smoked like a chimney, and we left a trail wherever we went.
I hated that car.
But, it got us there and back for I don't know how long,
so I suppose we just felt like we were blessed to have four wheels on the road.

I feel sure the sweet, apologetic desk clerk would have 
sent someone up to our room to clean our bathroom for me after I discovered the mess,
but Kevin had worked literally all night long the night before,
Zachary & I had picked him up that morning,
we had left straight from his workplace and then traveled over 400 miles 
with him not being able to sleep a wink in the car.

Bless his heart, I felt so sorry for him, I could have cried.
He was already sleeping soundly by the time I discovered the hair-infested bathtub,
toilet, and floor that obviously hadn't been touched by the hotel maid,
and I wasn't about to let a stranger come in to clean the room and disturb his rest any further.

So, I took the cleaning rags and supplies the clerk handed to me,
got on the elevator, walked back to our room, and I went to work...scrubbing with all my might, 
until I was satisfied that every germ was obliterated, every hair was removed,
 and I finally felt comfortable using the facilities.
Call me picky, but stepping into that shower otherwise was just out of the question for me.

After I finished cleaning, I walked towards the elevator to head back downstairs 
and return the cleaning supplies to the front desk.
As I stepped on, I noticed a few people walking towards it from the opposite end of the hall.
Soon, they stepped on after me, and as one of the well-dressed, every hair in place, jewel be-decked,
obviously well-to-do (or drowning in credit card debt) women brushed by me,
she bumped into one of the cleaning solution spray bottles I was holding in my hand.
I told her I was sorry it was sharp, and she mumbled something I've already forgotten...
then she went on conversing with another of the perfectly made-up and put-together women in the elevator,
sort of in a way that sent the message that she felt that it was a condescension to have to utter words to me.

I raised my eyes to look at the attractive woman she was speaking to,
her eyes met mine, then they immediately dropped to the two bottles of cleaning solution
and the cleaning rags in my hand.
As her eyes met mine for the second time, I smiled at her.
There was no return smile.
Just a look of utter disdain...more like borderline disgust.

Then, it hit me.
Both of these women thought I was a hotel maid,
not a paying guest.
A hotel maid is something I have unashamedly been known to be, by the way.

So, after I recovered from the initial shock of the rude treatment,
and figured out the highly-probable cause for it,
I began to wonder...
would the second woman have given me the same kind of look, had I not been holding the cleaning supplies?
Would the first woman have put forth the effort to hold a meaningful conversation with me,
if she hadn't automatically assumed I was "just a maid"?
If they had both known that it cost us the same amount of money to spend the night there as it cost them,
would it have made a difference in our few seconds together on that elevator?

I have learned to not be affected by things like this,
as far as being personally hurt or offended.
I have reached the place in my life, thankfully,
where I could really care less what people think of me or our financial status.
I left the elevator just as happy as I found it,
because those women...(even if they are, by the world's and/or their own standards,
 prettier, thinner, or more highly-decorated than me,)
 do not define who I am.

But, what bothers me is the unfairness of it all.
What really irritates me is the way people treat other people.
That someone would look at a person differently just because they have less education,
are in a different tax bracket,
live on the opposite side of town,
or work hard and do menial tasks for a living.

People are so quick to throw around slurs and labels, like "white trash" and see themselves as superior to others, when, in many circumstances, the people being labeled as such are doing the very best they can do.

And, none of us, no matter how much we try to convince ourselves,
are any better than anyone else.
Hard-working, common laborers are some of the best people on earth.
They are underestimated, undervalued, and most definitely, underpaid.
Each and every time I get the opportunity, I go out of my way to be nice to them,
to show them my utmost respect,
to commend them to their superiors by writing letters to compliment their excellence,
and if it is possible, I will dig right in beside them, roll up my sleeves, and try to lighten their load.
After all, we are all in this thing together, and there is no one among us who doesn't need a helping hand,
a kind word, and a pat on the back now and then.
And, who knows?
There is always the chance that those with the elitist mindset and mentality may one day find themselves
working side-by-side with the ones they now look down upon.
Life has a way of humbling us and making us realize who we really are.
Necessity is a great equalizer.

As an adjective, the word literally means...
lowly and sometimes degrading work,
of or relating to work or a job that is regarded as servile.
As a noun, it means...
A servant,
a person who has a servile or low nature.

As I came back to our room and later told Kevin about my elevator experience
and we began talking about these things,
he asked, "Do you know who I think of when I hear the word, "menial"?

"No", I replied, "Who?"

Kevin's one-word answer, 

He's right, you know.
In His Own words, Jesus said,
"For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister,
and to give His life a ransom for many."
Mark 10:45

The word "minister" here literally means "servant" and "serve".

Jesus humbled Himself, left the splendor of Heaven, and became one of us
with the purpose of serving and laying down His life for our redemption.

He reached out and touched the untouchables, healing them in the process.

He loved being with the unethical tax collectors and sinners of all sorts.
He not only loved being with them, He served them by ministering to their needs.

Jesus is the ultimate Champion of the underdog.

He has a tender spot in His heart for those who are scorned, abused, rejected, and maligned.
He knows, better than anyone, how it feels to be looked down upon.
He is the ultimate Servant, 
who deserves to be most highly served.

I never tire of reading the account of the last supper and how Jesus girded Himself with a towel

and reached down and washed all 24 of the disciples' feet.
To me, this reveals the depths of Jesus' character and His servant heart like few other accounts.
He told us that He did these things as an example for us to follow.

He doesn't take kindly to any of His children being disparaged and despised.

Sometimes, we just don't realize the power of our words and the loud volume of our body language.

It doesn't take words to cut someone down to size and make them feel hopelessly inferior.
Just a scornful look, 
a refusal to smile back,
a tilt of the nose,
or a flippant quick turning away or jerk of the head will do just fine.

So, ask yourself?

How do you treat others?
I refuse to attach the words "who are less than you", 
because, to God, no one is higher or more important or more loved by Him than anyone else.
There is no respect of persons with God.
"But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done:
and there is no respect of persons."
Colossians 3:25

I saw a quote the other day that said something along this line,

"If they are nice to you, but are not nice to the waiter,
they are not a nice person."

Next time you pass a motel maid,

encounter a waiter/waitress,
connect with a janitor,
or rub shoulders with a "common" laborer,
why not go the extra mile to be nice?
Why not buy them a cold soft drink and take it to them unopened,
give them an extra-generous tip,
empty their dirty mop water,
become their gopher for half an hour,
or just tell them what a great job they're doing and how much you appreciate them.
Tell them they're making a difference, and you noticed.
Commend them to their supervisor.

And if you happen to be one of "those people"...

those who day after mundane day clean the same toilets,
mop the same floors, 
clean up after strangers, 
dust the same furniture, 
change the same sheets,
make the same beds,
and feel completely unnoticed, unappreciated, unrecognized, and undervalued, 
my hat's off to you, dear friend.
I'm right there with you, and I feel your pain.
There is no one better or more important than you.
You are a good and faithful servant to God and many others,
and your work will one day be rewarded.

"The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel,
under whose wings thou art come to trust."
Ruth 2:12

Keep pressing on, weary one!
You are special.
You are loved.
You are appreciated.

God is well-pleased.

Max and Makeya Update
(in their grandmother's words)....

"Went to see our babies today...Makeya is doing good...she is learning how to pull her self over with her arms...her smile is priceless...I love her so much and my heart aches for her not be able to walk it.....but she seems so happy but she does hurt a lot...she complains a lot about her little toe..please continue to pray for her and for me that she doesn't see the pain in my eyes when I see her..Max has not changed when I look at him I wish that he could be where Makeya is at now...and I know Makeya still has along way to go...but I do wish that Max was already there to...please continue to pray for my family.....sometimes I feel so weak, but I know that if it was not for GOD I could not get through these days."

As far as I know, Max is still scheduled to have surgery to insert the trach tomorrow,
so please keep praying for this little guy.
We know God is able to do all things.


  1. ...I just typed a whole comment and don't know where it went! grrr...

    1. Oh, my! Bless your heart...wish I could have read it. You always bless and encourage me. :)

  2. We used to have a pastor that said, "If I had to dig ditches to provide for my family, I would." He has a house with a pool, but I know he meant what he said. I grew up with old cars, one so dry rotted, you coud smell the hot dryness every time you got in the car. I hated that car when daddy picked me up from school, because it wasn't as nice as the other kids' cars; and then, I felt so bad about that. I would not tell my father I didn't like it. I have done cold calls for a newspaper in a smoke filled room, babysat for very well-off people, worked for a cleaning service, taught school, taught piano and voice, and been a homemaker--still am. When I go to hotel, I treat the staff like I treat my friends and other guests. They deserve respect. They cleaned a room someone else dirtied. I have worked at cleaning up timeshares and I have stayed in a resort. All those time, I was grateful for God's blessings. Jesus said we are supposed to treat others like we want to be treated. He washed his disciples feet, the king of kings is a servant. That is pretty awesome; and so are you, Cheryl for being exactly who you are. I love you my friend. Debby

    1. You are so right!! Jesus treated every one of the people He came into contact the same. He died for ALL of us, no matter who we are or what we have done, and we need to pass that love on to those we come into contact with. So very thankful for you, dear friend. You steadily and consistently encourage me and are such a dear blessing in my life. I love you dearly. :)

  3. Amen, sister! Preach it loud and clear! It occurs to me that you look good on a soapbox! This is something that really bothers me, too. I used to get my nails done, and I was shocked at the way some women treated the nail ladies. And it seems like more and more I meet "ugly" people in the market or bank or store. Grouchy, self-absorbed, and condescending. And yet, that word - condescension - it is what the Lord did for all of us. He came down...

    I wonder how people would react to Him these days? Would they look down on Him, criticize Him for the company He keeps, make fun of His poor clothing and simple ways? Probably. For a suffering Servant is not the stuff of celebrity. I'm so glad, aren't you?!

    I do make a practice of noticing and appreciating people - no matter what they're doing or who they are.

    Respect and kindness - pass it on - it's what Jesus would do.


    (Prayers for Max tomorrow - no matter what happens)

    1. Awww, you are so sweet, my friend!! I know what you is just so sad to watch people treat others like they are beneath them...YES, Jesus condescended to us, so why would we feel superior to anyone else? We are all the same in His eyes. That is a wonderful thought...I wonder how they would treat Him today. YES, I am so glad a suffering Servant is not the stuff of celebrity...oh, praise His name for Him being who He is! So thankful for you and the blessing you are to me...and thank you for your prayers for little Max. Still waiting to hear word from them as to how things are going. Much love to you.

  4. Glad to hear good news about Makeya. I have faith that in Gods time, Max will make better progress as well. I will continue to pray for both of these little ones plus the family. May God bless them.

    1. Thank you so much, Carol. God bless you for your faithfulness and compassion!

  5. Amen and amen!

    Praise God for you posting such a timely and important message, Miss Cheryl!

    Jesus warned us that this unloving and uncompassionate attitude would run rampant in these last days:

    Matthew 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

    May we reflect the light of His Goodness and Kindness in this loveless generation!

    1. Thank you so much for your dear, encouraging words! Yes, I think of that verse, dear Mom used to quote that a lot when she would see things like this happening. The love of many has surely waxed cold. As you said, may we reflect the light of His goodness and kindness!! So grateful for your visit. ;)

  6. Well written. Thanks for your honesty.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Laura! God bless you!

  7. I enjoyed this. I found you through the Modest Mom Link-Up. The whole time I was thinking of James 2 when he tells us "My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons." Thanks for sharing :)

    1. So thankful to have met you today, Katherine! Thank you for your kind words. I like the name of your blog and am hopping over to your place now. :) God bless you!

  8. I loved your story about "Maid or Paying Guest." Sometimes we feel like the maid, but praise God, we are not a paying guest when we come into the presence of our Lord. We are received and honored as we sit at His feet. Thank you for sharing your lovely post with us here at “Tell Me a Story.”

    1. YES, Hazel! Praise His name...He loves us all the same, and we all have an equal place at His table. Thank you for stopping by and for hosting the link-up. God bless you. :)

  9. Thank you for sharing. It is good to be reminded not to judge. Coming from serving joyfully.
    Alexa from Sydney, Australia

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Alexa, and for leaving such kind words behind. So happy to meet you. God bless you!

  10. As Pa and Laura Ingalls said..."Hard-working folks only smell bad to those who have nothing better to do than to stick their nose in the air." I once bought a certain expensive handbag. Actually, I think my mama helped me buy it. Anyway, I just wanted it because it was expensive and all the "well to do" ladies in town were toting them. Afterwards, I felt so stupid for buying into all that hoopla. We live week to week, but we are so blessed. I am blessed with everything I need and more. I have very nice things which I find at thrift stores. I can't see decorating my home with expensive stuff when I can find such amazing bargains at yard sales, Goodwills, and other thrift stores. Some women would rather die than to be seen in a thrift store. I love our week to week status! It allows me to see just how God can supply all our needs, and it's thrilling to find good bargains. Just yesterday I got new wooden window shutters for two windows in my kitchen for just $5 each and a beautiful glass cake plate with a glass lid for $4 at a thrift store. I make my home beautiful, and I thank God for it all.
    God bless you, Cheryl.

    1. I love the Ingalls' wisdom. They were some of the most grounded, sensible, practical-living folks, and they leave behind a great example for us to follow. YES, yard sales, thrift stores, and other second-hand stores are some of my favorites, too!! There is no sense in paying full price for something just because it has never yet been used. God is SO good to even supply our "wants" so many times. I have found, also, that I really don't need a lot of the things I used to think I had to have....I guess it is all a part of getting older and realizing what is most important and what really even matters at all in this life. :)

  11. Wow, I'm visiting from Thriving Thursdays and I'm so glad I did! This post is a reminder to treat everyone with the same respect. Even those people that look down on you, treat them kind. No one has the right to act nasty to anyone and boy oh boy, it is hard sometimes not to do it back. But you have to stop, think, and act like God would want you to act. Praying for those types of people helps too. Hopefully one day they understand....

    1. YES, ma'am, it sure is hard to not retaliate, when we are treated this way. It takes the grace of God. :) I am so happy to meet you today, Serena! God bless you for stopping by and leaving sweet encouragement behind.

  12. What an interesting experience! Your words are so true though!

    1. Thank you for your visit, Chantel!! God bless you. :)

  13. I love this story Cheryl! I thought of this verse, "One person pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth." So many people think they have everything in terms of material possessions and they are always chasing after more, yet they become more and more empty. We have Christ, therefore we have everything, even if we have nothing in worldly values. Love you sweet Cheryl, what a blessing you are! And I love that you cleaned your own hotel room - that's an awesome example for all of us to follow!

    1. YES, dear, sweet Amber! You are SO right! I love that verse you quoted...and we are so blessed to have Christ. If we have HIM, we have it all, don't we? I love you, blessed by your dear visit today. :) God bless you in return.