I realized the other day that I have blogged only on the things I am passionate about. I write about the things that remind me and tell others that I am living the dream of living out my vocation. But what about the other times when I work not necessarily towards building my career or making a difference but merely to pay the bills? To be honest, it is these jobs that often build the most character in me. A great deal can be learned from the service industry.
The truth is that I love being a host. I love making food from scratch and making it look attractive. I love knowing that something I created or served nourishes people. However, I find that if I don’t make a conscious attempt to look at the joys of my part-time jobs, I am more likely to operate from a place of defeat. The service industry makes me more aware of those around me. Only when you have worked in service can you be aware of the challenges of those who serve us when we dine outside our homes.
Over the years, working in the service industry has improved the quality of my lifestyle. My kitchen is organized for practicality and good hygiene. Having friends over for dinner typically has more effort put into it than ordinary looking pasta and salad. Drinks served at my home have more thought and care put into it rather than just popping open a bottle of beer or soda. I’ve discovered that even the most simple of meals can be served with love and comfort with a little effort.
So I write this four part blog to give you a glimpse of this side of my life in Los Angeles. These experiences I write about have often been the ones to fill me with compassion for the fellow working class. It allows me to have grace when I receive bad service at a restaurant. It reminds me of the fact that the livelihood of servers and bartenders depend on good tipping etiquette. It tells me that smiles and acknowledgement to those who serve me go a long way in blessing them.
I also write these blogs for the fellow servers and bartenders I work with in my catering jobs. I look up to some of them, especially my hard working Latino friends who work late hours not only for themselves but to support their families in and outside the country. They serve humbly so that their children could have a quality life. Their service is delivered with sacrifices and I am proud not only to work along side of them but to call them my friends.
When I serve with a little class, I give a creative piece of myself. When I receive service, I am more grateful for the small details and my heart feels cared for. But most of all I take joy from the fact that even when I am not engaging in my art or my ministry, I have the opportunity to contribute comfort to those I serve and grow from my opportunities for humility and patience.