Tonight marked the beginning of my final week at the church in Hanover, which means the first in a series of last things. The Monday Night Bible Study group had a special gathering tonight for me (it doesn’t usually start up until after Columbus Day). The group has met on Monday nights for twenty five or thirty years. I started going because I figured the folks who were committed to the group would be leaders in the church whether they held any church office or not. Over three years of Mondays we studied and laughed and cried and prayed together. That group is one of my favorite things about the church.
One of the things Don did tonight was to ask people to tell me what they appreciated about my ministry. Their affirmation was overwhelming, deeply affirming, and incredibly humbling. The people who were speaking have great stories to tell in their own lives and were taking time to encourage and compliment me. As I drove home, I thought about how few jobs ever offer the kind of moment I got to have. I’m a fortunate person to have been able to sit in that room tonight, breathing in the love that filled it, and being offered words of healing and hope.
I worked lunch today at the restaurant, which means I got there about ten and left around six. I arrived to find Robert in the kitchen and all burners blazing; there was a brunch that no one had told him about until Sunday evening. He was on his own trying to feed about twenty five people everything from Eggs Benedict to pancakes to raspberry danishes — and all at a time of day he does not usually see. When breakfast was over, he and the servers who helped stacked all their dishes and pans in the dishroom and left. Usually on a Monday, Joe (the other cook) and I fill up the dishroom on our own because Monday is a prep day: everything was used up over the weekend and we have to restock. Today we made clam chowder, lentil vegetable soup, crab cakes, lobster salad, cole slaw, along with all the dressings and other little things that have to be done.
Pedro, the dishwasher, usually comes in around five or five-thirty, after working all day on a construction site. We have a running joke. He comes in and looks at everything we have piled up and says, “Why you no like me?” Then he smiles. Around two o’clock, Joe and I took some time to try and make some order of all the dirty dishes that were strewn around the dishroom. We stacked plates, put the silverware in the soaking tray, and tried to collect the pots and pans in a way that would at least make the huge collection of stuff to be washed a little more manageable. Pedro came in, looked at the stuff stacked up and dropped the Portugese equivalent of an F Bomb.
“Why nobody call for two dishwashers?” he asked. I didn’t have an answer. He felt disregarded and taken for granted. No one ever gets the staff together in a circle around Pedro in the dishroom and tells him how he has helped. They don’t do it at his construction job either, I’m sure. A couple of our servers say “Thank you, Milton” everytime they pick up an order to take to the table. I also hear them say thanks to Pedro when they take their dirty dishes to him. In a lot of circles, that’s as good as it gets.
None of us can ever get too much of some saying, “Here’s what I like about you.” Go ahead — sing along.