Today’s Author: Deacon Kari Alice Olsen, Mission Developer and Director of Shobi’s Table

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowly state of his servant.
Surely from now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name; 
indeed, his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
Luke 1: 47-50

Each day we serve lunch at the food truck, the staff arrives early to open up the kitchen.  There is something about opening that I love – the way it sets the day in order before I’m awake enough to hold it all.  We unlock the doors, turn the dishwasher on, turn the fans on when it’s hot, and make the coffee.  As we wake ourselves up,  the little cogs of the day clack slowly together, and before we know it  – volunteers have arrived and the day is in full swing.  

Before we wash our hands and get to work, we pray.  Whoever prays usually does so extemporaneously – letting whatever words and silence, however fluid or awkward bless our beginning.  Whoever it is, we almost always begin with gratitude.  Gratitude for getting us up out of bed. Gratitude for the hands and the hearts present to work, gratitude for the folks who will come to eat.  Gratitude for the cabbage that came from seed, nourished in soil, plucked by farmers, delivered by drivers and yet to be turned into something delicious. Gratitude that sets up our list of tasks as an opportunity for joy in the moment and in something bigger. Gratitude even for the things we are struggling with or lamenting. 

Once we’ve prayed, the kitchen crew gets to work.  There may be someone chopping a mountain of veggies, mixing up and portioning out a salad, and yet another baking cookies, cleaning this and that, and always always someone doing dishes, and more dishes.  Then we fill up the truck and drive away to one of our regular parking spots, set up and open the window.  Sometimes there is a line already waiting for us as we pull up.  We quickly set up and start rolling up wrap sandwiches, dishing up the salads and desserts, slicing bread – whatever each person orders.  We get to know the people, asking their names, slowly learning a little more about them when they become regulars.  Some pay, some do not.  Sometimes we run out, and sometimes we bring our leftovers to other ministry partners.  Whether a large crowd or small, whether a memorable menu or an okay menu, whether a smooth or bumpy day – for all of this, we give thanks. 

Question: What are you grateful for?