“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2
It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and forget how every interaction we have directly affects those around us. I taught fitness classes all through college and when I was looking to get back in shape, training for the Miss Idaho USA pageant, I recertified and got back into teaching! I enjoy it but it also forces me to stay healthy because when you’re the one teaching… skipping class is not an option!! Sometimes after a long day at the office, particularly if I’ve had to deal with grumpy people that day, I’m not necessarily feeling like leading a peppy dance party but the show most go on!! What makes all of it worthwhile is when I catch the smile on someone’s face while dancing to a routine I created that says they are feeling happy and confident in their body or when I hear that my class is helping students get the body they’ve been working so hard for!
Teaching fitness classes at a university, the clientele changes during the academic year and the summer months and whatever the reason, I’ve found international students seem to really enjoy my class during the summer months! Last year it was a woman from Bangladesh who moved here with her husband in a modern day Romeo & Juliet love story because their parents did not support their union! They were kind enough to invite me into their home for a traditional Bangladeshi breakfast, which is a memory I cherish! I promised to teach her how to make “American cake” from scratch… I need to make good on that promise before they move away next month! This year I have three students from Asia all with various English proficiency levels who come without fail to every class!
When I got strep throat earlier this month and had to find a last minute substitute I thought nothing of it! Quite honestly, it was kind of nice to have a Thursday night free to binge watch some Netflix! However when I went to the grocery store to pick something up the next day I ran into one of my summer international students. She asked in her broken English about my sickness (they asked the sub where I was) and how I was feeling now. I explained my throat and how I was slowly getting better but was on medication for a few more days. She wished me well and we parted ways. At my next Zumba class, this same student came to me and said she had a gift for me. She had gone to our local natural grocery store and picked up cough syrup for my throat and said I should be feeling better in 3-5 days!! This small act meant so much to me! Here was someone I see twice a week for an hour and she went out of her way to buy me medicine so I could get back to feeling better! Even when my best friends are sick I’ve never thought to go buy them NyQuil and deliver it to their home!
She continues attending my classes telling me she feels her tummy getting tighter and she finds joy in the dances we do. Moral of this story is be deliberate in your interactions, you may never know the impact your presence is making in the lives of “strangers.”