beans

Last night I was in charge of the beans. Green beans, to be exact.

They had that pale green color that signaled they were past their prime and overcooked, nothing like the vibrant beans Chef Mike steams for us. They were sitting in their own nasty bean juice and they were chopped into little pieces. I swear they didn’t have any actual beans, only the casing that holds them in the pod. I wouldn’t have wanted those on my plate either.

As people walked down the line, their eyes never left the juicy steak placed on their tray first. I can admit I stared too. Some guys had brought tons of huge steaks and grilled them out back. The kitchen smelled divine. When a big, juicy steak is placed on the tray and followed by creamy mashed potatoes and gravy, it’s hard to look away. It’s even harder to face the disappointment of pale, squishy beans.

And still, I hopefully asked everyone, “Green beans?”

Plenty of people said no. Plenty of people said yes. Everybody said thank you.

We weren’t suppose to give extra helpings until everyone had eaten, but one man asked for extra green beans. I couldn’t say no. So many other people were saying no to green beans that I didn’t think it would hurt to give him a little extra. I earned myself a stern look from Miss Francis, but it was worth it.

We ladled and scooped until there were no more mouths to feed. As we were cleaning up, a family with five little kids came in. They asked if we had any food left. I shook my head and instantly felt guilty for the extra helping of green beans I dished out. She told me she and her kids hadn’t eaten meat in three months. An overwhelming pity swept my body as I tried to grasp not having food to eat. I’m constantly turning away food while she was trying to gather enough to keep her kids bellies from hurting. I didn’t know what to say, but luckily Miss Francis swept in and saved the day.

“Child, we have enough late plates for your family. They’re out back. Go on now and enjoy.”

Inside the cafeteria someone was playing the guitar and singing sweet country love songs. Combined with the smell of the grilling steaks, it gave off the feel of a family barbecue. It was a beautiful day, and outside a preacher was speaking. His talk was all about perspective.

Where are you? I’m at the library. I’m in Texas. I’m in college. I’m in my twenties. I’m sitting down. I’m on Earth. There are so many answers. It depends on how you look at it. When you look at life from a positive perspective, everything gets better. You are happier when you focus on the light instead of the dark. I thought of Jenna. She would’ve loved this lesson. All of the people who had were listening had a lot to be mad about. They had so much dark, but they choose to see the light. They thanked us for the food and our time and our service. We thanked them for their lessons. Miss Francis hugged us all.

I learned a lot about perspective. I’m thankful for what I have, even when it seems filled with too much darkness. I’m thankful that my green beans are richly colored, crunchy, and fresh. I’m thankful that I was able to demonstrate Jesus’ love by scooping a little bit of love from my bowl to their plates.

Not everyone wanted green beans, but no one rejected the love. 

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