Where I'm At: Victoria
In ten days I will begin classes at college, and my Junior year of college will be under way. It is crazy to think that I am already halfway through college, and that I will be an upperclassman on campus. I am looking forward to seeing my friends, and meeting the freshmen.
This summer I worked as a server at a Japanese Hibachi Grill and Sushi Bar. It was an experience I am grateful for. You see, it looked as though this might be another summer where I couldn’t find a job (as happened last summer). I had applied at some Christian Summer Camps, but none of those worked out. I had a couple interviews in my hometown, but yet again no offers came. Then somebody at my church told me to apply at this Japanese restaurant. So I walked in, spoke to the owner, and started the next day! I had never been a server (though when I was younger I entertained dreams of becoming one!). I learned a lot on the job and was sometimes overwhelmed when there were quite a few customers, and only me as the server. But I learned that even in the craziness, I eventually got through it. I’d have to say my multitasking skills probably grew a lot, as well as my confidence in dealing with strangers. Because it was such a small staff, I got to spend lots of time around my coworkers, and was thus surrounded by different languages every day (Vietnamese and Spanish). My coworkers were in many ways the best part of the job, and I will miss them.
I learned in serving that there are three kinds of customers – the demanding, rude ones (I hardly ever had to deal with these thankfully), the indifferent ones (most people), and the really sweet, sincere ones that actually see you as a person (the ones every server lives for). I think it would be great if everybody had experience as a server. You learn a lot about people. You learn patience (hopefully), and realize how important it is to treat those who help you with respect (when you’re not treated with that very respect). You learn to read people better, and appreciate kindness and genuine smiles. You learn to appreciate wonderful coworkers and bosses. These were things that I learned. I also learned once again about God's provision. Looking back, I can just laugh at how little faith I had that God would provide a job for me. The day I left college for summer break, the lady at the mail office told me that God would provide for me, when I told her I didn’t know what I was doing for the summer. Sure enough, He did!
In addition to working, I also got to play keyboard and sing at my church, helping out a worship team whose leader left partway through the summer. My pastor and his wife each told me in their own ways that it looked like God did have a purpose in me being home for the summer. Yes, looking back I can see this. I can see that spending time with my family (and Joanna for part of the summer!), being with my church through a difficult time, and helping out at an understaffed restaurant that desperately needed me as a server were some cool things God had in store for me during a time I thought would be useless. He always knew there were things He had planned.
As I look forward to this new year, I know it will in many ways not meet my expectations (my imagined futures rarely do). But in many ways it will exceed my dreams. It is just important to believe God always has purpose in what He does.
Also important to believe is in God's beautiful, individual love for each of us. This summer I have come to realize the importance of believing this. Sometimes it is hard for me, but there's a verse that I have found helpful, that says it is true. 1 John 4:16 (NASB) says, "We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in Him."