One man we encountered was a server at a restaurant. He was about 50 years old. He dressed impeccably in a perfectly starched, white, button-down shirt. His hair was slicked back perfectly like Desi Arnez from the old fashioned "I Love Lucy" shows. His face was fairly stoical, but kind. When he approached our table, he would stand exactly at the center of the end of the table when we spoke to us, and when he left, he bowed ever so slightly. It was obvious that this man took the basic job that he did very seriously. But, again, it wasn't that he was a perfectionist, it's that he demonstrated his work with an extreme sense of personal:
Not to belabor the point, but on another occasion a taxi driver picked us up to drive from the airport to our hotel. This man spoke almost impeccable English. When I commented on his linguistic abilities, he said, "I can speak with you in any language that you choose." After that, the taxi driver proceeded to speak German (from what little German I have taken, I would say, very well), and then Italian, and to top it off French. How many college undergraduates in the United States, I wondered, would be able to do the same thing...speak 4-5 foreign languages with perfection. The man was proud of his ability. Language was obviously something that he had worked on with great attention. But, again, deeper than his abilities was another more important quality:
Dignity is different than self-confidence, although the two are somewhat related. Dignity is a basic sense of self, that is ingrained and hard-wired. Dignity connects to our behavior. A person cannot have any sense of dignity if he/she does not behave in a certain way. Dignity connects to honesty. Dignity does not connect to money, or to power.
The Bible doesn't really speak specifically about the character quality of dignity, but many of the real life characters in the Bible have a basic sense of dignity. The woman who cleans her house all day long to search for a coin had personal dignity. First, the house wasn't very large. The house, probably more like a hut, had a dirt floor. However, the woman had this sense that even though it was a dirt floor that it should be a clean dirt floor. So, she swept the dirt. Why was she cleaning? It was more dignified to have a clean house. And she was searching for a coin which she had lost. Maybe she owned lots of coins, maybe this was her only coin. We don't know for sure. What we do know is that she searched for it all day long. It was the dignified thing to do.
And now, I am going to spend what free time I have to learn a few extra languages, to wear more impeccable clothes, to keep my house cleaner, to search for things that were lost. Why? Because I want what I observed these good people to have...
All For Now,