The fire made her stronger.
I’m sorry, but as of yesterday, I discover I have one more story to write relating to “Rey” of Star Wars. I did not plan this, but I wash dishes part time. I work the weekends since I do not want to work a lot of hours, usually 6 hours on Saturday and Sunday. I figure if I work the hours they most need help, then it is worth it to them, even though my hours are short. I work those critical hours when the place is getting “slammed”, if you know what I mean.
The manager was a little worried as he talked to me after my first two days of work. I could hear it in his voice. “How are you feeling?” he asked. I said, “Tired, but I feel fine.” He looked at me again, “So you think it’s not too much? You can handle this?”
“I can handle this,” I answered. It had not dawned on me yet why he was asking these questions until he ended with these statements, “Well, we like your work. This ‘time slot’ is yours if you want it. But if it ever gets to be too much for you, just let me know.” I smiled, thanked him, and said, “I’ll take it.”
I’ve been there going on 5 months now. My wife, who is a waitress there, when I told her I was going to apply as a dishwasher, she was immediately shocked and laughed as she said, “You won’t last two weeks in that dish room! It’s crazy! (She was right about that.)
You see, at age 64, I’ve got at least 20 years on every other person in there. Most of them are in their twenty’s or teens. One guy is around 40, and he complains all the time. The manager was seriously worried about my age! That did not dawn on me until after he walked away and I pondered our conversation. But after about a week in that place, I was already beginning to be accepted by the best workers in there, and within 3 weeks was as good as any of them. You may think that should not be so hard… I mean… it’s just washing dishes…right? How hard can it be?
Well… much to my own amazement… I’ve seen how people “wilt” and crumble in that room. I see what my wife meant, but she never knew just how hard I’ve worked all my life. She knew what I did, but until you actually do something, you just don’t realize. She has seen first hand what that dish room does to people. She’s watched it over many years. She’s seen the few that excel, and the many who fold, or they settle into a “weakness”, just hanging on until fired or they quit, but they have no fight in them. They do not fight! They become LAZY WEAK people who put their work off on the warriors in the room!
That dish room is a FIRE! Some people grow stronger in the fire, but others melt. And yesterday I was stuck working with a young woman who should be full of life and energy, but she is so weak I can’t believe it. I think she should see a doctor! What kind of sheltered life has she lived to be so weak and lifeless? She’s been there longer than I and should be an expert by now, but is not!
They know I don’t like working with her because of her laziness, so they don’t usually put us together. I must admit, I do struggle with patience for lazy people, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. I’ve had words with her before. She probably requested not to be with me. But the “break room” is very close to the dish room, and she slips in and out of there constantly, and everyone is too busy working, and doing her part, to keep track of her. But I did confront her one day.
Anyway, this job is hard for many reasons. It’s not a good set-up for one thing. The dirty dishes, glasses, etc. are dumped into plastic totes on carts outside the dish room, not inside. We have to constantly run out there and grab these heavy totes and bring them in. This place uses real plates and platters. Heavy plates and platters. These totes are heavy and almost spilling over as we grab them. Even the silverware gets heavy!
We’ve tried dragging the carts into the room and changing them out, but our room is so small, and it actually takes longer to fight those carts in and out, than to just keep running and grabbing the totes. Then when the dishes come out on the clean side, they have to be carried to the cooks, down the grill line, another crowded and busy area. You run back and forth the whole time carrying as many of these plates as you can as fast as you can the whole time! Because these are the weekend busy hours. The job is hard, hot, nasty, stressful, physical, very fast paced for hours on end, and did I mention hard? (But it’s not rocket science. It is simple.)
Okay, so I admit not everyone is going to be good at this job, but if you find you’re too weak, you don’t put your work on everyone else. You either get stronger or find a different job! But this young lady just keeps slowly going through the motions, taking the easy task whenever possible, taking multiple bathroom breaks, slipping in and out of break room constantly, putting her work on others, and worst of all… she evidently is so self-centered that she does not even care everyone else is doing half her work! She loves to be carried!
When she carries plates down the line, she takes about one-third the amount she should, and moves at half the speed a normal person moves. She actually gets in the way and slows us down! Why has she not been fired? I honestly don’t know. I’ve seen managers almost yell at her, they’ve had conversations with her, but they do not fire her, and she just keeps going on as if she never heard a word anyone said, and as if whats going on around her is not real. It’s as if she is in a different world than the rest of us the whole time she is there. A world that could care less what her lack of effort puts on everyone around her. (I really do think she should see a doctor.)
So… after working with her for six frustrating hours yesterday, I found myself again thinking about the many lessons of Star Wars and how hard times can create strong people, just like a fire creates a fine sword, a Sword of Significance.
In my quiet time today I realized I could have turned out like her, but after High School I got thrown into a FIRE! I almost quit. I did not understand. But I was many miles from home and had no ride. So I endured five days and by the time I survived the fire of those five days I was beginning to survive and get stronger. For me, it was mostly mental strength I needed.
My childhood was very isolated in the country on a small farm, but we were not farmers! My Grandpa had been before he passed away, but my dad worked in an auto factory. My only real job growing up was mowing grass and taking out trash. During the winter it was mostly just going to school, which I hated. And in my day, college was still pretty uncertain and all I wanted to do was get out of classrooms so I could be in motion! I didn’t like sitting! I liked action! And that saved me, because all those lonely years on the farm I spent my hours being very physical! But not the same kind of “physical” as “working”. You know, “labor”.
But God had a FIRE planned for me, and there was a fork in the road I could have taken in which my life would have become “weakness”, rather than strength, had I surrendered and gone down that path. Thank God I was stuck with these guys and could not easily leave. Thank God I loved movies about heroes and wanted to be like them. I did not want to be a weak person. A vision lived in me and the fork of the road forced a choice, whether I would become the vision, or not.
This is “Bushido” — “the way of the warrior”. The Samurai used the word Bushido to describe the warrior way. It is not the civilian lifestyle of the soft and lazy looking for more and more selfish comfort zones. It is a life of serving and sacrificing for others. Like Jesus did. Jesus was “EXTREMELY” Bushido! And he raised up others in His Way. The 12 Apostles being some of the best known of them. And he has his Book, our Bible, and it is His Sword! And our Sword.
It looks like the story of my Baptism of Fire will come next episode. There is simply too much good stuff needing to be said. The weak girl in our dish room would never survive if she were thrown into a situation like “Rey”. We have girls in that dish room who have excelled. They have bushido, the warrior spirit in them, but not her. She either refuses, or is incapable of it. It is very easy to recognize the warriors of life from the civilians who expect the warriors to do all their fighting.
There is much more to come on this subject as we take a sit under the Willow Tree, and we realize planet earth is not a nice place for the weak. It “IS” a FIRE! Warriors rise while the weak fall. Warriors do things of significance while the weak “settle”. Warriors thrive in the fire, because they see the vision of what it means that life is full of mountains to climb, rather than wallowing in the mud of the low lands just waiting to die, suffering through life as a painful thing, but to be ALIVE! Without passion and fire, we are not truly living. We’re just going through the motions. These are today’s words from the Willow Tree, and we have only just begun.