I'm not sure what it is, but there is something inside of my soul that longs to do something hard, dirty and insignificant. Let me illustrate and explain. Today, I had my first serving shift downtown at the Dining Room, a free restaurant for those who meet income requirements. Several times previously I have done prep work, once plating deserts and another time rolling silverware in napkins. However, this time I got to be there while the patrons were eating.
This background brings me to my actual point. My job today was scraper. I stood between the serving line and the dish washing station and scraped food off of plates, combined any remaining drinks into one container, and sorted the dishes before taking them to Eddy who ran them through the washer.
It is not particularly glamorous work. I had an apron, but I still got food all over. It is repetitious, and the most major interaction is with the person working as busser, as they switch their full dirty tub with the one you just emptied. Still, the two hours I spent working went by so fast. Partially because I talked and joked with the Veterans for Peace working on the serving line, but mainly because this kind of service fulfills a deep need inside me.
Deep inside me, I crave to give service that is messy, relatively unimportant, and in the background. I feel like I'm truly serving, when no one knows who I am, where I'm just making a difference by doing something that must be done out of love. I find myself singing without paying attention, a sure sign that I am deeply happy. This kind of service satisfies my soul, and while some may call it grunt work I call it an opportunity and am thankful for it. My soul rejoices in half-eaten applesauce and I respond with joy and one of my special giant smiles.