I used to be a waitress.
I can honestly say that I not only enjoyed it, but I miss it from time to time. It’s one of the few things I have come across in my life that came very naturally and easily to me; I did it well.
Waitressing, for me, was never really a job, it was an outlet.
Talking and listening to people feeds something in me that I can’t quiet describe. I jump at opportunities to serve people because I like to feel needed. I like to do for people what they can not do for themselves and waitressing seemed to supply that environment for me.
I couldn’t have asked for a better setting either. Whitefish, Montana is one of the most breathtaking places in the United States. Something about that place beckons people to come and be a part of it. It invites and then transcends every expectation. And tens of thousands of people from all over the world flock there every summer to witness it for themselves.
Rumors of its beauty, tales of its grandeur, and pictures that attempt to capture its essence compel people to go and see if such a place exists. It demands, and rightfully deserves, to be experienced personally.
Waiting on tables of visitors that had just come from Glacier National Park always brought a smile to my face. They were exuberant. The views there will do that to you. The air will leave you feeling exhilarated. The breeze will woo you and the fragrance of wildflowers will intoxicate you.
Back to waitressing.
Tourist and locals alike seemed to always come into the restaurant after their adventures famished. Exposure to that much beauty is exhausting. Many weren’t prepared for the altitude adjustment. Others didn’t hydrate properly to compensate for the dry climate. Still others didn’t prepare for the hiking to be quite as exhaustive and so they didn’t eat enough.
They all came looking for sustenance. They needed to be replenished. They needed nourishment. They needed rest. It’s not that they couldn’t have gone home to cook for themselves, it’s that they didn’t have the energy.
Being a waitress reminded me a whole lot of church.
Isn’t that what people come looking for? A promise of God that will quench their need for assurance? A truth that will satisfy their hunger for hope? A bench to sit and rest on with others who are travelling the same road? And a waitress (or waiter) that will be happy to accept them, serve them, and bring them love enough for the next day’s journey?
We’re all waiters. We are all called to serve what we know: Grace. Freedom. Forgiveness. Joy. Hope. Peace. Life. Love.
Some of us are openers. We meet people before they have ever even heard of this place called church. We give them directions.
Some of us are scheduled for the mid-afternoon lull. We have the opportunity to pay careful attention to the customers who come in alone and stay long.
And some of us are closers. We’re there for the evening time rush. We have seven tables instead of three. We get to serve the customers with complicated orders. And we’ll stay there as long as they haven’t paid their bill.
All shifts are equally important, all serve a necessary purpose.
So whether you open, close, or keep the old company in the corner booth after the lunch hour, never forget you were scheduled for your shift for a reason.