Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Leave it at the Altar

whoops...forgot to post this last week!

As many of you may know (at least the ones that know me), I worked in the food industry for sometime holding various jobs in various restaurants.  Including Huey’s, Macaroni Grill, McAlister’s Deli, Blue Coast Burrito, Kobe Japanese Steak House and Sushi Bar, and a brief stint Savelli’s Italian Restaurant.  While at these jobs I held positions like “Saluta”, Server Assistant, Take Out Specialist, Expo, Server, Devo, Bartender, BOH, Dishwasher, busser, chef, you name it, I have worked it.

One thing that can happen when working in a restaurant is you become very proud of how “good” of a server you are.  You want to get the best tips, be able to take care of the most tables at once, never mess up an order, have the most add on sales, have regulars that know you are good, how well you can carry a food tray, how many drinks you can carry, how quickly you can get an order out… literally, you want to be the best at everything.  Sometimes you can work hard enough to be rated as the #1 server and hold that position for 4 months….just saying…it could happen.

Anyway, I remember one shift when I was taking care of a friendly elderly group that had come in for dinner.  I must admit, beverage trays were not my strong suite.  I could carry 6 full water cups with my hands but put 4 glasses on a tray and ask me to carry it and it was a struggle.

So, as I approached the table to drop off the water glasses, I remove one glass, throws the weight of the tray off, it wobbles, and eventually flips.  Not one…but THREE full glasses of ice water land directly in this gentleman’s lap.  He was completely soaked. 

I felt horrible! 

Naturally, I began apologizing profusely.  I ran and get some towels so he could dry off.  Told my manager, get ready to comp some food because I just messed up.

The man took it all surprisingly well.  He was not angry, bitter, or anything.  He was cheerful…

“Now anybody can drop a glass of water…but you…no, you were also able to somewhere get the lemon to land in my pocket!  That takes skill.”

I couldn’t help but laugh but I still felt bad.  After they paid and still left a very generous tip, I caught them as they were walking out the door to apologize again. 

Still again, he forgave me, said don’t worry about it and that he had a blast.

I still didn’t get it or fully accept his forgiveness.  I still felt bad about dropping the water on him.

By now you are probably thinking, what in the world does this have to do with anything!?

This past month, we were lucky enough to have the one and only Bishop Don Johnson join us as our Spiritual Director for Happening #54!  Over the weekend, the Bishop shared a story about a conversation he had when he was younger.

He said that he would go to church and was able to bring all of things that were going on in his life and lay them down at the altar and give it up to God.

Then as church ended he would stop, pause, turn around and go back, pick it all back up and take it with him.

He was unable to leave it with God.

Thinking about this how often are we unable to accept the forgiveness of others?

How often are we unable to forgive ourselves?

How often do we go to the altar and feel unworthy of the unconditional love that God shows us?

How often do we chase after someone to again apologize for something after they have already forgiven us?

One thing that has become a staple of our youth retreats is an affirmation circle.  What is an affirmation circle?  An affirmation circle is simply when you stand in a circle and say stuff to each that affirms them.  Get it!?

I have been apart of one where you look directly in someone’s eyes and tell them that you see God in them.  Which is a very powerful thing to hear.

Another one is a great response to this feeling we may have when we are unable to accept forgiveness.  When we are feeling down and are lost or confused and feel that you can not just leave all that stuff at the altar…

You are worthy and deserving of love.

And God loves you.  No matter what.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will
give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me;
for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for 
your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30

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