On days when my other half gets on my nerves, I often joke that husbands ought to be illegal. In spite of the joke expressed out of frustration, I have to admit that for the honor of being married to Ali, I would willingly break my own law.

Anyone who knows him can attest to the fact that it would be extremely difficult to find another person anywhere near as kind or compassionate as the man with whom I've spent the last 28 years. Others describe him, in the Arabic vernacular, as having a "white heart," meaning that he always sees the best in everyone and every situation. His Pollyannaesque optimism is more than just an attitude; for Ali, optimism is a value that informs his every decision. Let me give you a recent example of what I mean.

Our business is located in an industrial area of the city, near railroad tracks, a train station, and a small airport. In the alleys that link the buildings in this industrial complex, we often see homeless people. Some of them come to check the dumpsters that dot the driveways, a few move methodically from business to business asking to work for the day, and others come seeking food or money. Ever compassionate, Ali will feed anyone who asks. And while he prepares a plate for an unexpected guest, the equally gregarious Ali engages him in conversation. He talks, laughs, and jokes, but most importantly, Ali treats these unknown people with dignity. In short, although the guest may smell bad, may be wearing filthy clothing, and/or may have a problem with addiction or a mental illness, Ali never forgets that he is first and foremost a human being deserving of compassion and respectful treatment. Let's just say that my husband's kindness has made him quite popular among the disenfranchised residents of our business neighborhood.

A couple of weeks ago, a cargo container of our products arrived from Egypt. With the only employee we had gone on to the greener pastures of the construction industry, I expressed to Ali my growing concern that we wouldn't be able to unload the container ourselves even if we got help from the brother-in-law and son-in-law-to-be. Mr. Cockeyed Optimist had no -- zero, zilch -- worries about it and advised me to think Hakuna Matata. The following day, one of Ali's grateful guests paid him a visit. About a year ago, Ali had given this man some work to do, paid him for the help, and fed him for a few days. Eddie was in a bad way and had come looking for a day's work. He couldn't have come at a better time because we had more than one day's work for him! Eddie brought a friend who also needed work and with the extra hands, the container was emptied just in the nick of time because a rain storm was heading our way.

The weather in Southern California has been uncharacteristically cold and rainy for the last ten or so days. Now, I know that other states have much lower temperatures than we do; however, when one is used to a winter temperature that rarely drops below the 60 degrees mark, a nighttime temp of 48 or below is just plain C-shiver-O-shiver-L-shiver-D! If these temperatures seem cold to me, someone who has a heated office in which to work and a temperature controlled home in which to sleep, imagine how uncomfortable it must be to homeless people like Eddie! He dropped by the business four days ago to tell Ali that someone had beaten him up and stolen his blanket the night before. I can't say for sure, but I think that he was hoping Ali might have some work for him to do so that he would have the money to get another blanket. At any rate, Ali offered the use of his empty van to Eddie and his friend (I can't remember the other guy's name--bad, bad me!) so that they could escape the rain. Because Ali had done the same thing for a homeless couple last winter, the van was already prepared with warm sleeping bags and pillows for its next guests. And so Eddie and friend have been able to stay dry, a little bit warmer, and lots more secure for the past few days.

Although he does get on my nerves every now and then, my husband is one AWESOME dude! He is a living, breathing example of one of my favorite sayings from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh):

"He is not a true believer who does not want for his brother what he wants for himself."

**Note: Just in case you're wondering, the photo at the top of this post was taken in one of our warehouses and shows the alley to which I refer. Ali is the guy in the back row on the left.
Labels: Bookmark and Share | edit post
0 Responses

Post a Comment

What's on your mind?