I wonder when they wrote “Let’s get it started” performed by Black Eyed Peas and it became a hit, did they have any idea how much impact this song is going to have on me in performing my day job? I don’t even know the entire song, but when I don’t feel like getting my job started, my brain does this funny thing and starts singing this song to me.
It goes, “Let’s get it started–in hah! Let’s get it started in– here!”
Just that part. Even though what’s about to get started is far from a fun party.
It’s my off day so I am excused from my dull task of repeating “What would you like to drink today?” a hundred times. I do have deep respect for the cashier role. Ringing the order on a computer screen sounds really easy but it requires immense focus in trying to locate all the right ringing codes and buttons(There are literally hundreds). Honestly, it really is not where I want to use my concentrating ability on. But it does make me use my brain in its own minor ways, and I have to keep my brain rolling to carry on my tasks throughout the day so I am sure this is contributing to something.
What this job really does for me, aside from the regular paychecks, is that it brings out so many sides of me. There are many minor challenges to overcome each day, and many opportunities to successfully run the cafe. But the real perk I get from working at the cafe environment is not all the free coffee I get. No, it’s the people I meet, and I meet A LOT OF PEOPLE. Montaigne declared that by traveling, one can ‘rub and polish one’s brain’ through contact with others. I equate my job with traveling.
With each person comes a challenge or a blessing. Either way, for better or worse, everyone is contributing to something greater. I am sure I am a challenge to someone and a blessing to another. I try to be a blessing to everyone I meet as much as I can, but sometimes I feel like I am left in a lion’s den alone. Sometimes, I feel like I am facing a thick stone wall.
On good occasions, though, there are lots of smiles and signs of love and affection. Warm greetings and exchanges of lively conversations. These moments make everything better. I love my job, I love my life, I love people, I love me. It’s just all love, love, love.
That small cafe in Hawaii I managed was all about love. When I am there from 6 in the morning till 2 in the afternoon, 80 percent of my customers were all regulars. They would come and linger, and overtime formed a community of morning coffee crowds. Everyone knew each other. It was a small town living at its best. So I miss that aspect here, but it’s almost unattainable. We are only 40 minutes from downtown D.C. and people start their stressful morning commute to the city at 5 or 6 in the morning. I understand their frustration. I understand their anger. I understand their depression. I was there countless times. Although mine was mostly clinical than circumstantial.
Clinical depression has its perk. My personal experience of suffering from depression broadened the level of my compassion. I feel their hurt, fear, and anger and I love them all the more because of their pain, though challenging it may be.
It’s so easy to love your job when all is going well. When everyone loves you, when everyone is happy with life, and everyone is content, life is an easy ride. But that’s a fairy tale. We are not always happy. We face many adversities that block our path to happiness. What’s asked of us is to love against all odds. In the face of struggles and hardships can we still love doing what we are asked of doing? Can we still shine in the face of darkness and become the light that God expects of us? Those are the questions we must be asking in times of trial and tribulation.
I’ve failed many times. I still fail many times a day I am sure. My light stops shining and I forget to share my light in the dark places. For a long time, I was the darkness myself. But through it all, I’ve learned my lesson. An encouragement of a silly song helps. Prayer is the mighty weapon. A little smile most always works. A word of kindness is all it takes sometimes.
One day at a time, and one person at a time, we become one light, joined in one God, in the presence of one Lord.
When that One day comes at last and last forever, Forever, we will be One, having overcome all odds.
So keep shining and Keep smiling, just this one day, because that’s all it takes. That’s all that’s required of us, right here, right now.