My grandmother became gravely ill when I was in my mid-twenties. Hospital staff took care of only her medical issues, which left many in need of attention, so another family member and I took turns staying with her. Though I had no paid leave, I took time off work to care for her, because of love. A few years later, Grandma had digestive problems while in “the home.” Again, I cared for her because of love.
Recently, I was reminded of these times when I read an article about award-winning chef. Narayanan Krishnan quit his job with a five-star hotel group and left his promising career in order to feed the hungriest people in his home city.
Quoted in the CNN story, Krishnan told the story of this incredible life change:
“I saw a very old man eating his own human waste for food… really hurt me so much. I was literally shocked for a second. After that, I started feeding that man and decided this is what I should do the rest of my lifetime.”
Not only does this Brahman feed the lower caste, the “untouchables,” he touches them: “I cut their hair, I give them a shave, I give them a bath, I hold their hand…All about the love, and if we don’t go here ourselves, all of us, we aren’t going to make it.”
Watching the video reminded me of caring for my ailing Grandma. I did things that many would find too repulsive–like brushing her dentures, washing her feet and cleaning up after her diarrhea–to give her the most basic comforts. I surmounted my distaste and cared for my grandma with love, and therein, I found Grace. Whether we help feed, wash, clothe, heal or just listen to people, there is no work more holy than caring for our fellow human beings.