Cups of Gratitude

6 February 2014

As I walked solemnly toward HIU Janitors_edited-1my university’s dorm lobby, a battle raged in my mind. I was confronting feelings and thoughts that resulted from a conflict with one of my best friends. I became uneasy but ventured on. Once I approached my school’s main building, a black trash bin took my complete attention. I realized that it was the school janitor’s and did not make much out of it until, without warning, the word “honor” popped up.

For some reason, “honor” took me back to a time during Riverwoods Summer Camp training in 2013. I remember sitting through training sessions learning about the Culture of Honor and what it looked like. Riverwoods’ leadership explained that honoring went beyond applauding someone, but honestly accepting, recognizing, and valuing their work or qualities.

Ever since camp training, I knew that my outlook on honor had dramatically changed. I no longer took honoring lightly. Ben Shenkin, H.O.P.E. Program Manager, once shared that honoring someone was similar to the act of opening heaven’s doors; these people were being recognized simply for who they were.

Because honor was prevalent throughout camp, I left Riverwoods with a new sense of understanding. And as I stood outside the school building looking at the trash bin, I found myself devising ways to honor the hard-working janitors that night; coffee was the first thing that came to mind, so I decided to make them some.

With coffee in hand, I walked back to the school’s main building and found two female janitors. I had seen them earlier in the year working late into the night but finally got to meet them. What I thought would be five minutes of chatting turned into two hours. We spoke in Spanish about topics ranging from education to God. We also shared some laughs and looked back on our lives.

Before I left, I made sure to thank them for their work. Although they sometimes go unnoticed, I wanted them to know that they are valued and appreciated in my school’s community. They were grateful for what I said, but I was even more grateful for their work and who they were.

As I was taught at Riverwoods, honor can be demonstrated  in sweeping or small ways – from public announcements to a simple cup of coffee; however, honoring should primarily demonstrate God’s genuine love and acceptance. Just as we are a family in Christ, we should encourage one another and remember God’s perspective of us.

With all of this said, I hope I have encouraged you. I hope God moves you, and I hope you find someone to honor this week, because it just might be what they needed.

Me and HIU Janitors