I have long admired my great aunt Lupita. She is in my opinion one of the best women I have ever known; indeed, she may perhaps claim the title of the greatest. What has she accomplished? You may ask. Has she traveled the earth, written groundbreaking papers, set an example of high end elegance or been governor of a province? No. She has been exceedingly poor her entire life, dealt with hunger, death, illness, abuse, and pain. And everyone who knows her absolutely adores her.
Ninety-three years old, she is a pillar of loving, generous matriarchal kindness. I have often come to her house and been well aware that she had almost nothing to eat. But never have I set foot in her kitchen that she has not offered me the little she has. As far as I know, no one has ever left her home without being offered food and gentle hospitality. She brought into this world 15 children. Thus far she has also buried five. And yet she is a tower of strength, refusing to become bitter no matter her trials. That, I believe, is a greater tribute to her strength than the fact that she locked herself in her bedroom and delivered her own last two children by herself.
Recently I had the opportunity to sit alone with her and have a one on one chat in her beloved kitchen in Mexico. She began by telling me "I am 93 years old, and I have something to tell you. I want you to listen because I have experience and these are wise words." She proceeded to tell me that she never drank and never smoked and that those who did ran into terrible health problems. Later in the conversation she told me that some of her descendents were going to school in the neighboring town and learning all kinds of things. She indicated that the she and the others in her family were dumb and ignorant, which, if you know me at all, I couldn't simply accept without a fight, even though she is so much my superior in age. I told her that it was true they hadn't learned many things of the world but that they had something far better. They had intelligence of heart and of soul and not everyone in the universities had that. I am happy to say I had the satisfaction of her agreement. There is something far more powerful than the vain things of this world. Though I may not see her again in this life, there is a quiet power of the spirit that suffereth many things with patience, and a dignity and nobleness borne of a life well lived that never dies.