Do you ever have one of those days where you just want to be swept off to your happy place? The beach, the mountains, a cruise, a tropical island. Over the last couple years my happy place has changed. It is less about the destination and more about the people. My happy place is the monthly free community meal at Cornerstone Church.
On the last Wednesday of every month for the past three years, friends and family of Cornerstone Church, have prepared and served meals to thousands of people both from our church and the community. When these meals first started I worried about everything. Would we have enough food, would anyone come, will people like it, will they come back? I spent weeks planning, inviting, stressing and worrying. What I quickly learned was that these meals were not about me. They weren’t a direct reflection of the job I did. These meals were about serving the community but more importantly forming relationships with people both inside and outside the church. No matter how many fliers I passed out , or how much food I planned for, the people came and the food never ran out. Once we served 400 and one time 50, but both times I knew God had a plan. He wants us to meet, to encourage each other, to lift each other up. Yesterday’s community meal was no different. The crowd is never the same, you never know who God is going to have walk through the door. What I do know is that each person is there for a reason and if I take the time to talk, listen, and show love, I can see God’s plan unfold.
Yesterday we had some new people, some people showed up we hadn’t seen all winter, the front line serving was different from last month, and the atmosphere was very light hearted. Fried Chicken is a popular night. I made sure we had plenty of chicken and as usual no one signed up for mashed potatoes but plenty showed up.
The night was light and full of laughter. I saw some old friends I hadn’t seen in awhile. Caught up with them about their families and sent home plates to feed everyone. I get so excited when I see people I haven’t seen in awhile. It is encouraging to hear about heir lives and successes.
What was different about tonight was what I witnessed about others. I saw some of the people from my church opening up and talking with our guests from our community. I know this may come as a shock, but I love to talk to people and haven’t met a stranger. I have accepted the fact that not everyone is as comfortable as me talking to strangers. I will ask them enough questions in the first five minutes to write a mini biography. What made my heart sing last night was watching people connect, laugh, joke and hang out.
I have gotten to know my friend Michael from the community meals. He attends them pretty often with his kids. He is a charmer and like me will talk to anyone. What I love about last night was seeing some of our Cornerstone Family connect with him. One particular sweet little lady, just ate him up. He was pretty much spoiled by the time he left the meal. The people who come to the community meal both to serve and as guests are the reason it is my happy place. I can’t help but leave in a good mood when the night is over. You really should not underestimate the power of meeting together. I have formed many friendships through the community meal. Now that I have stopped trying to be in control and trust God, these meals have become the highlight of my month. Gathering the community , not just the members of my church, in food and fellowship is my happy place. I encourage you to join us on the last Friday of very month. Bring your whole family. Bake a dessert, sit down and eat with a stranger. Get to know the people of this great community. You never know, it might just become your happy place too!!!