Last night, when I picked her up from work, Maty expressed concern about a friend of ours that was only recently released from the hospital after a bout with a recurring illness. Our friend is a student who rents a room in a house with two other roommates, and Maty was worried that our friend had no one to care for her while she regained her strength. And so, we drove straight from Maty's job to our friend's house and picked her up to come stay the night with us. We got home, sat our friend in the recliner and wrapped her up in a warm blanket. Then, Maty set about cooking dinner for the three of us. She wouldn't allow our friend to help with the food preparation, insisting that she rest.
As we ate, we watched the reports on the news about the disaster in Haiti. Even though money is tight for us right now, Maty encouraged me to send a donation to a relief organization to help.
I've come to expect this compassion from her. Maty is well-known among her Senegalese friends as the person who remembers every child's birthday, who brings the "get well" basket to their homes when they are sick, who offers her help cooking or cleaning when one of them is in need.
I'm grateful for the many gifts that Maty gives me. But the gift I hold most dear is the manner in which she makes me a better person. When I feel uncharitable or irritated with my own friends or family, Maty always urges me to forgive, to love. And she does it with a humility that I find amazing.
Once, I asked her "Do you even know how noble you are?" Her reply: "I just try to do my best every day like my Mom and Dad taught me."
That's the woman I married: brave, wise, and kind. I've said it before and I'll say it again: she's a better person than I.