Lent Blog #29 (Identity)

March 17, 2010

As much as I sometimes hate working in the food service industry, it has it’s pros. For instance, I love that I get to interact with so many people in such a short amount of time. People that I might have otherwise never talked to, I have to talk to because of my job. In my four years of working at a restaurant, I have had some of the best conversations with customers.

Last night, when I was working, we were just about to close when a group of three teenagers walked in and sat down at the counter. None of us really wanted them there at first. I mean, the sooner the restaurant was empty, the sooner we could close and go home. But, they were there none the less and so I struck up a conversation with them.

I didn’t know much about my mother’s dad before he died but my mom once told me that my grandfather would strike up a conversation with anyone and everyone and by the end of the conversation, he would know their entire life story. I guess I inherited that trait from him because I love to strike up conversations with just about anyone. After talking to these teenagers for a short while that night, I soon knew so much about them. Where they were from, what they liked, what they wanted to do in life. It was then that one of the boys looked at me and said, “I love meeting people at work because they are in their work uniforms so they are stripped of all identity. It makes it so that you actually have to talk to a person in order to know what they are like.”

I loved that he said that. I started to think about how many times I do learn about people based on what they look like or what they wear. But there is so much merit in talking to people. In asking them questions. As I went home that night, I wondered what was the identity that he saw in me by talking to me. I wondered if those teenagers could, by my words and, more importantly, by my actions, tell that I was a follower of Christ.

When I was in high school, my youth pastor asked us to think about what word people would use to describe us if they had to. I knew that I wanted to be known for my faith but I wanted to see if that’s what people actually knew me for. So I found several people throughout school and I asked them what word they thought of when they thought of me. And, for the most part, I was pleased with the results. So many people knew me for my faith. And I was happy about that. But those people knew me. I want to know the word that people give me within the first 15 minutes of knowing me. I hope that it is the same.

God, Let I be known solely for me faith in You. Nothing else matters.

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