Jorge is one of the people I work with who inspires me.

    He is a dishwasher who does a great job, but that’s not what gets me. Jorge works at both the restaurant at Duke and the Durham restaurant where I work. From Monday to Friday, he works from 7 am to 3 pm at Duke. On Tuesday through Saturday, he works at the Durham restaurant from 4 pm to close. On Sunday he works there from 8 to 4. He is not a person who has the luxury of deciding whether or not to be a workaholic. He works because he needs the money and he has family to support in Mexico. He works every chance he gets. And he works hard. His work ethic is exemplary. But even that is not what gets me.

    I am moved by his attitude toward his life and his work. He always has a smile and a good word. I’ve never seen him lose his temper. Yesterday, I saw him at shift change and one of the other chefs said, “Jorge, are you happy today?”

    “Not today,” he answered, which surprised us. “Not very happy.”

    “What’s wrong?” the chef asked.

    “Nothing,” he said. “Only poquito happy.”

    “Happito?” I said.

    Jorge laughed. “Si,” he said, “happito.” And he went back to washing dishes.

    When I got to Duke this morning, he was already settled in by the dishwasher. working through the pile of pots and pans that surrounded him.

    “Buenos dias, Jorge,” I said. “Happito today?”

    “No,” he answered. “Today very happy.” And he smiled.

    “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content,” Paul wrote to the Philippians. I think of that verse as I see Jorge, the Mexican incarnation of those words, live out his life in front of me. I’m sure there are things about his life he wishes were different. I don’t know much more about him than what I see day to day. Yet, what I see calls me to remember that I, too, am called to be content, to be happito in all things.

    I’m grateful for his reminder.



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