Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Friends with Everybody

Today, I went to work with a new idea. Last week was kind of rough at work, at times very busy and stressful, and it was incredibly difficult to remain positive. Anyway, I knew/know that I needed to start looking at people differently, somehow have a new attitude that would be long-lasting and endure any difficulties. So I decided that today I would try my best to look at each person as a friend of mine. They weren't customers, they weren't strangers, they weren't guests - they were my friends, and I got to serve them. It could be that I just got the right people, but I don't think that was it entirely. I think because I was more open, others were more open. Because I was not judging others, they were not judging me. It turned out to be a great day, and it was a lot easier to serve people.

One thing that's really cool about this is that when I got home, I went online and I looked up this teacher guy who was talking about how to live your life in balance. And he had this really cool thing about how we need to approach people without self-righteousness and without self-deprication. Which means, we need to interact with everyone without applying all of our standards to them and without applying their standards to us. When we have this balanced attitude, we're free to approach people with openness and love, and when we do that, we receive the same in return. It was right in line with what Jesus teaches about not judging others, and it was right in line with what I've was trying to focus on for the previous few hours.

I find it really hard to go about life this way. I believe I'm an idealist by nature, I have high expectations, both for myself and for the world around me and the people around me, and that creates a lot of frustration. In the past few years I've been able to overcome a lot of that, but it often comes back, and I find myself angry, frustrated, irritated, scornful, and all those negative attitudes that do no one any good, least of all me. I've been trying to be a positive person these past several years, and I've made great strides, but I'm hoping to make even bigger ones. By the grace of God, I will.

One other thing that was coming to mind was the idea of blessing. I was reminded recently to bless my enemies and not curse them. It was in a book I was reading, but it is also a very strong message in the book of James in the Bible. "Bless, and do not curse." "Out of the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be." I wait tables for a living. In the state of Utah, the minimum wage for servers who make money in tips, is somewhere in the vicinity of $2 an hour, which means if I don't get decent tips, I don't make money. It is very tempting, when people tip badly, especially after receiving good service, to think very low of them and to curse them in my heart. I had one table like that today, and as I was feeling those kinds of feelings and thinking those kind of thoughts inside, but I remembered the reminder I had read in the morning. Bless your enemies. So I prayed for them, not that they would "learn their lesson" but that they would be greatly blessed. It was a very freeing prayer. I myself was freed from bitterness, from self-righteousness, from anger, from my own cursing mouth. Thank you, God, for your lessons, even those which you must teach me time and time again. Thank you for the opportunity to live a new life with each passing day.

I continue to pray for better days to come, greater joy, greater peace, and in all things, greater love.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jake! Chris Gott here, I also wait tables for a living and I know every word that you speak of. I always try to remember to thank God every time I close out a check (it's really hard though when I get less than 20%), be it 20% or 10%. It's VERY hard to do, but I find, like you said, it's freeing. We don't know the circumstances of a guests finances, who are we to say anything bad about them? For some people 15% is a great tip to leave and it means everything was wonderful. Of course these people need to be taken out back and flogged, but they're still nice people : )

Seriously though, it's a tough business to be in, especially being the breadwinner and having a family to raise. Whether we realize it or not, we are FULLY dependent on the Lord's blessings for our salaries. Much more so than people in industries where you get a steady paycheck. Our attitudes should always be of thanks and gratitude, don't get me wrong, I have my days where I curse people under my breath or out loud to other servers which is SO stupid. If the wrong person hears that it could be very bad for me. I always find that as soon as the curses are out of my mouth, I'm asking God for forgiveness for being so ungrateful.

Thankfulness in all things is really hard to do all the time. It's something that I can always get better at.

Thanks for your post Jacob, it really made me think. I will remember you when I feel like cursing someone and do my best to turn my attitude around.

Remember this: "Even in our trials may our hearts rejoice"

I hope you and the wife (sorry, forgot her name) are doing well. God Bless.

Jake said...

Chris, thanks a lot for your comments. It's great to hear that from a fellow server. The thankfulness thing is something I've been working on as well. I hear you about the struggle. Out here, there are some Mormons who will not tip more than 10%, claiming that they give God 10%, so they shouldn't give others more than they give God. It's the most twisted, ridiculous thing I've heard, and I still know that I have to give thanks for what they give and wish blessings on them instead of curses.

Anyway, keep praying every day. I'm currently praying constantly for a new path again, and I'm confident that God will lead me there. In the meantime, staying positive is key.

Susanna Metzger said...

I purposely over-tip. I figure, if working at McDonalds or as a server is something I would hate to do personally, why not be generous with the people who DO have that line of work?