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Lunch Line

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Oct. 28th, 2011 | 04:36 pm
mood: gratefulgrateful

We have a challenge with our lunch line. One of our rules is no cutting. That seems straightforward, but it is not. People arrive at noon, line up at 12:45, and lunch begins at 1pm. Once through the line you are permitted through a second time.

According to the rules, if you arrive at 1:15 or 1:20, you can't cut the line. You have to go to the end of the line. And ahead of you are people who already have lunch; they are holding a bag and it has food in it. And you don't have food, and you want to go to the head of the line, because you didn't get lunch yet. But there is no cutting.

There are people who can't wait in line. People who have disabilities for sure, using a cane, or with dizziness or some sort of challenge. And people who can't stand still and can't wait in lines and can't follow rules. They hang out visiting with folk and then we say the prayer and the line starts moving, and they move to the friend "where their friend was holding their place". But we don't allow cutting.

And then there are people who can't come over here. They are sitting over there, on a bench far away, or in their house, or up there, at the corner. Their friend, wife, brother, etc. explains this to us very sincerely, pointing over there. I just need to get one for that person. And we say, sure, just take one this time, then go through the line again and take another one.

I'd guess that half the people who get called out for cutting go to the back of the line. The other half leave in frustration that we are totally unfair. And so I found myself Sunday checking out what was happening when a man said “hey, you can't cut”.

I came over and stood, looking up at a very tall Hispanic man who was extremely angry saying very forcefully "you cannot cut the line".
And he said, "I haven't eaten yet."
And I said, "There is plenty, but you have to go to the end of the line."
"Well then I won't eat" and headed away.

One of the others ahead of him was a regular at our lunch, and was angry that the man would even CONSIDER cutting, so he needed to say that, too. "Why the f** do you always cut the line?" and "Why can't you go to the end of the line?"
And so the man came back to the line and started screaming back "I'll go anywhere I d*&$ well please" and "why don't you mind your own business".
And so now I am standing between two tall men saying in my most grown up, deep, calm, and forceful voice: "Stop fighting and do not cut the line." Repeat eight times.

And so the line continues forward, without my cutting man. And the elderly white man behind this whole scene, also very tall, the one who said "hey, you can't cut", that one, right there, with the white shirt and blue stripes, he takes one of everything without a word, and heads back to the end of the line, stopping for just barely a second to hand his entire lunch to the guy who had cut. He goes through the line again, and gets lunch for himself.

Without a word.

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Comments {3}

We all bring different things to our life/line.

from: anonymous
date: Oct. 28th, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC)
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Eliz, keep writing. I felt like I was in that line--I have to admit I related to you and to the guy who said, "Hey, you can't cut." The guy who tried to cut? Not so much. Largely a rules follower and moreso as I get older, I find that I'm more indignant with rulebreakers but also more able to calm myself and move on. Keep writing, keep writing!

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(no subject)

from: octavianec
date: Nov. 2nd, 2011 08:35 pm (UTC)
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I’ve recently started a blog, the information you provide on this site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

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the story has a long tail

from: anonymous
date: Nov. 11th, 2011 04:25 pm (UTC)
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this is amazing. It can teach us a lesson about waiting for how the Spirit works in a long arc, letting a moment in time mature. Etc. But mostly, it is just a story to amaze and prompt me to see the blessing.

Peace and Blessing...

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