How Grateful You Are

In the deep rural area, not too far from the city of Pachuca, in the state of Hidalgo in Mexico, there was a 98 year old lady named Maria De La Quela, well known as Mama Maria. She was old but she was lively, full of joy, passion and love for life and her family.

She was well known for her generosity and caring for everyone, even those she didn’t know, she was just too kind to anyone and everyone whoever came in her presence.

Maria had a big family; she had 6 grown sons and 4 daughters, who all were married and have children and grandchildren, which makes Maria a grandmother and a great-grand mother to a total of 18 grand children and 46 great-grand children, whom most of them always lived in the same household with her, so it was a big family in a big farm house, and they were always happy.

She was the type of person who gave her all to anyone who needed whatever she had, and she was a very hard worker, so she always had plenty to eat in her household. Whenever she cooked, in addition to feeding her many grand and great-grand kids, she would call other kids from the neighborhood to come eat whatever she had prepared. She was a very good cook, so everybody liked her food, especially on Sundays when she would always cook a big meal and everyone was always invited.

While ‘the Marias’ always had plenty of food to eat, one year there was an unexpected trouble in her rural area, the rain didn’t come that year for the Marias to produce adequate farm produce to feed their family, thus there was a sudden drought that caused hunger for most families including that of Mama Maria De La Quela.

Days and weeks went by and the Marias were starting to starve. Often times the kids went to bed without eating anything and they started to cry, nonstop, from hunger. The Marias didn’t know what they should do to get food and the whole area was starving, it was getting real serious.

Mama Maria would sometimes leave the house, and take long walks on her dry land, just to get away from her grand and great grand kids who were constantly crying from hunger. She would take these long walks alone, and those who saw her from afar would see her moving her arms around in the air, but they didn’t know what she was saying, all they knew was that she was talking and screaming, but in reality, she was praying and crying, asking God to help her.

Early one morning, Maria got up; put on her torn shoes, and hit the road to the Mayor’s office. It was a good 30 minutes of walk by foot, and when she got there, she was exhausted and tired. She entered the Mayor’s office and told the receptionist that she wanted to speak to the mayor.

However, the receptionist rudely rejected her, telling her that she had to make an appointment, but Maria insisted to see the mayor. But, the receptionist adamantly told her that she has to make an appointment, and as they were talking, with Maria getting loud and louder, the mayor heard the noise and came out of his office to see what the commotion was about, and when his receptionist told him that this old lady wanted to see him, he calmly let her in his office.

Maria thanked the mayor for taking the time out to see her. Maria started telling the mayor her story about how her household is staving, kids are constantly crying from hunger and they are just too many of them. The mayor shunned her off telling her that everybody was in the same dilemma, but Maria pleaded with the mayor.

The mayor stopped for a few minutes, looked at her, and called his receptionist. He ordered his receptionist to call the city’s warehouse manager and told him that he’s sending her a lady Maria, and that he must give her everything she needs.

Maria was very grateful, she thanked the mayor and went to the warehouse, where she told the manager what she wanted, and the manager doubled whatever Maria had asked; bags of maize, flour, potatoes, rice, cans, meat and beans. He gave Maria enough food to feed her family for the whole year.

Maria was so grateful, that she asked the manager if should come back to pick up her things and the manager politely told her to take her time. On her way home, Maria couldn’t handle the excitement, so she just busted shouting and screaming, praising God for hearing and answering her prayer.

She was dancing on the street and singing in joy, and those who were looking at her, thought she was insane and started scorning and cursing at her, but she would not listen to them, she was just singing and rejoicing.

Those who knew her asked her what was wrong and when she told them what had happened, they too joined her and started singing and rejoicing with her. But those who stood by not knowing what had happened were laughing and mocking at Maria and her followers, but others who heard what happened also joined the Maria group, singing and dancing and clapping hands.

The street was filled with people singing and dancing, but those who didn’t know what was happening were simply laughing at them, but some still just joined the group and started dancing and singing, most of them didn’t even know why everybody was dancing and singing, so they just joined in and followed the crowd.

In the movie, The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), Will Smith plays as Chris Gardner, who went from medical salesperson to becoming a broker. This movie depicts the struggle and hardship that Chris and his son had to endure just to make it to another day.

But at the end of this movie, Chris is seen coming out of the investment firm, clamping his hands together and lifting them up in the air in joy. He swirls around and again lifts his hands up high in the air in the middle of the crowded Wall Street.

Because the street is so crowded, nobody seem to care of what Chris was doing, but you can see him on top of everybody else on the street, clamping his hands together and lifting up his arms high in the air. And harshly, he started running down the street, hurrying to his son’s daycare, then he busted in his son’s daycare and grabbed him and twirled around as he clamps his son hard in his arms. As you watch this part, you can only imagine how grateful he is because of what has happened to him, he came from being homeless to getting a job as a broker in one of the finest investment firms, and he was simply amazed and mostly grateful.

But those who were looking at him and not knowing what had been happening in his life, what he had to endure, just to make it to tomorrow were probably wondering and thought that perhaps he was insane. They didn’t know why he kept acting weird, twirling around and lifting his arms and hands up in the air in the middle of the street.

So, how grateful are you for whatever has or is happening to you? When you go to church and look at someone crying and jumping up in joy, what do you think deep inside your heart? Do you be thinking that he or she’s crazy or will you join him or her and rejoice with him or her? When you turn on the TV and watch someone jumping up and down in church, what do you be thinking about him or her? Would you be thinking that they are just crazy?

There are many Marias and Chrises out there, and the next time you see one of them dancing, singing and rejoicing, would you just join them and praise with them for what has happened to them, because the next time, it might be you.

So, how grateful are you, really? Things really happen in life, and if for any reason that one day you just woke up as either Maria and or Chris, what would you do after you’ve gotten and achieved your dream and wish? Would you dance and sing on the street?

I will, and I do that now, at home, school and my church, because I am so grateful beyond words, for God who has always kept me and fulfilled my dream of going back to school and for everything else He has done and continues to do in my life. And thank you, Charles, Kojo, Mom, my family and everyone else who has always supported me and stood by my side!

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