Dear Wellspring Ohana & Friends,
A couple of weeks ago, I strolled the streets of Capitol Hill in Seattle with my 85 year old aunty, looking for a place to have breakfast. We landed at a café that shall remain nameless, and followed the instructions to “Please Seat Yourself”. After waiting some five minutes, I got up to pick up two menus from the hostess’ stand. I took note of 5 restaurant staff servicing the customers in this half-filled restaurant. Another 5-6 minutes passed with no one approaching our table to greet us and take our order. I felt invisible. I was annoyed, and looking around, started to wonder, “is it because we’re Asian or older that we are being ignored?” I grew more impatient when a pretty college student walked in and a waiter immediately sat her at a table and proceeded to take her order. Minutes ticked away. I observed one of the waiters, going from table to table, to place floral centerpieces on the tables, completely engrossed in his task and oblivious to us. That was it. “We’re leaving”, I said to my aunt, as we got up and gathered our things to leave.
Ironically, I don’t even think they noticed us leaving because they hadn’t seen us sitting there at a table in the first place. My gut reaction was to post a negative review on the Yelp website, accusing them of “pathetic service”, “discrimination”, and “lack of attention”. Somehow, this experience of being ignored had triggered something in me and I reacted. I received a timely, apologetic and kind response to my negative post from the manager, along with an invite to please try them again. I’m pondering it, but feel embarrassed because of my harsh reactive words. It’s hard to even share with you, my church family.
However, I believe that by sharing our stories of weaknesses and vulnerabilities, we are helping each other to acknowledge our weakness, limitations and our need for Christ’s presence and perspective in our lives. In hindsight, I could’ve used the moment to speak truth and kindness to one of the waiters about feeling ignored rather than react with an unkind Yelp post. In that vulnerable moment, I became the *!$#2& person that I never wanted to be. Thankfully, the manager knew how to respond well to my harshness. So does our forgiving Father in Heaven. He gently and persistently nudges and tugs at our stream of conscience. He encourages thoughtful reflection. He waits on our tables unfailingly to serve us and offer us forgiveness and wholeness time and again. I appreciate being able to share honestly and vulnerably with you. May you too find blessing in your brokenness as we come to the table to partake in Communion today.