Christmas this year gifted us with kids from afar. My daughter and her partner journeyed here from Sri Lanka and my son, his wife and their little one-year-old arrived from Ivory Coast, exhausted after a 24-hour trip. Time slowed down as we enjoyed each other from early morning until the cool evening breeze bid us goodnight. Little Keiyona delighted us all as she begged to see the “moos” and danced on the porch to Baby Baluga. Sadly, the day came when they all left in one go.
Rajakumari, the Blue Mango Supervisor, took one look at my face and said, “It must be hard saying goodbye."
“Yes. It is. But there are two sides. One is the emptiness I feel right now. The other side is happiness, because I have a wonderful family to miss.”
“It is like that, isn’t it? The other day my son asked me why I am not resentful when rich people slack off but earn more money than I do. I answered that there is someone always poorer than me who is working harder than I am. If I allow myself to think like you, I will always be unhappy. It is no way to live."
She went on to tell me that she had gifted her entire first pension check to a young man she barely knew, who was longing to join a temple pilgrimage with his friends but couldn’t afford it. Her generosity and compassion made his dream possible.
“It made me happy to do this. I am so grateful for my pension. Working more than 20 years at Blue Mango has made this possible. Even as a widow, I will be able to take care of myself when I am older."
It is said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” In Rajakumari’s case, "Comparison is the giver of joy."
As Winnie the Pooh says wisely and optimistically,
"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."