Earlier this summer, I had a chance to take part in a special engagement for bloggers to lunch with Charlie Ayers, the former executive chef of Google, who started the swank, hot cafe Calafia in Palo Alto, California.
What impressed me about this luncheon wasn’t the fancy atmosphere of jazz infused music mixed with clinking glass against open kitchen sounds.
What I was really interested in was meeting the famed chef and tasting his interestingly themed menu — kiwi!
From Kiwi Gezpacho to Kiwi dessert, what an exciting tour my taste buds were treated to that day!
Curiosity peaked, I stole a moment to exchange a few words with the food maestro. As everyone else was busy chit chatting during the course of a meal, I noticed Ayers quietly standing to the side.
I walked over to thank him for an awesome meal and asked, “How did you know cooking was your passion, Charlie? Did you always know or was it something you stumbled on?”
In a softened voice of respect, Charlie credits his father for inspiring his love of cooking.
Charlie remembers his father encouraging him to pursue his passion since early childhood. His dad didn’t have a chance to realize his dreams, and he wanted to Charlie to have that opportunity.
As he shared, I was moved.
Even though we may not all have a father like Charlie’s to encourage us to shoot for the moon, God has given us the gift of words through community.
It’s been said that talk is cheap.
I disagree. We all need to hear words of affirmation. Words that speak truth, that help us see a glimpse of who we truly are.
Words change and shape us. Sometimes for the worse, but thankfully, other times, for the better.
Community is like that, I think.
Just as others have slayed me with their words, God has healed me through others.
I wouldn’t be where I am today, if it weren’t for the lifegiving words of some who were generous with their encouragement and friendship.
These friends made time to listen and stand with me in the process of becoming.
True community isn’t “pretty” because it’s human. It’s imperfections can hurt, but it opens opportunities to love. God has used community to open my heart, beyond the borders of myself.
I have learned that when I’m no longer afraid of my own journey in process, God opens my heart wider as an invitation for others to share theirs.
While the world judges by appearances, those of us in the community of faith can come alongside each other and see what no one else can see: beauty.
What a gift you are, a community of faith baristas, serving up shots of encouragement by sharing your words!
“For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.” Philemon 1:7