I worked as a waitress off and on for about 8 years. The work was difficult, of course, but I could always count on one member of staff really being my saving grace : making me laugh, cheering me up, helping me when I was over-sat with guests and couldn’t handle another table of sixteen.
Some places I did feel welcome and as a family, but the last place I worked I truly had trouble (as I always do) with fitting in. I’m kind of a daydreamer, I make strange comments about the way things are, and I don’t enjoy watching professional sports – trouble when you work at a sports-themed restaurant.
But thankfully, my one person who I could count on to make me laugh was there. Truthfully, there were 3 women who I connected with, but this place had such high overturn it was hard to stay grounded. We would don voices of Jersey housewives and gossip about our fake mob husbands. Laughing so hard, fake nails would fall off, hopefully not into food.
Last week, I saw a message from this person on facebook – the scary generic kind that screams “I’m in trouble”.
So I sent her a message. Poetry, jokes, songs. I haven’t been in contact with this person for years. Then she told me the truth : her boyfriend hit her. Hard. She moved out. Someone being tormented by someone they trust. NO ONE deserves to be treated that way by someone they love.
I’ve been sending her small messages. I’m no hero and this isn’t any kind of pride point, I just want to do what she did for me – make me smile when things really sucked and I felt alone. Sometimes, working in food service can make you feel like a servant, who is doing everything right and still getting torn apart by volume and stress. Which is why you always want to have someone like my friend on staff, they remind you that you aren’t what you do – you are who you are.
I’m always so amazed when the person who inspires us the most to smile feels like they are undeserving of the same when they need it. I’m sometimes that person, I realize now. But what are we here except for one purpose…
We are here to serve and be served. To take care and be cared for. To love and be loved. To be grateful for it all.
I hope in the coming weeks, months, years after any kind of trauma we find the courage to leave it behind. I hope that we can help each other when we need it most. I hope all of our best intentions and prayers go into small actions – kindnesses and small messages that you are not alone. I hope that if you see something going on with a friend, no matter HOW long it has been since you talked? You speak up. I hope that you connect to people who need it, because they need you. I hope you know that love never means that things have to hurt.
I hope that your love can help others and you can be helped as well.
Sat Nam. Love one another.
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