Sunday, July 4, 2010

Chinatown Lunch Lady

I'm working at church this summer. One thing we do for the kiddies is provide them with delicious government lunch everyday. It usually consists of a bologna sandwich, maybe goldfish, and--a new addition this year--packaged cucumbers or jicama. I'm not sure why anyone would package jicama and give it to kids as part of government lunch, but whatever. What is jicama anyways??

Every week, this Chinese lady comes and checks up on us, makes sure that we're running procedure and protocol correctly, and collects the receipts we receive from the delivery man and paperwork that we have to fill out every time we distribute lunch. I don't know her name, but I assume it's Wendy, because I think most fobby Chinese women are named Wendy (I'm serious. I know like 5 Wendys/Wendies who are really fobby. This theory is a branch off of a larger theory that fobby Chinese parents prefer female names that end in "ndy," which is a branch off of an even larger theory that fobby Chinese parents, for both genders, prefer names that end in "y"). So, every week Wendy comes around sporting her excessively large backpack, walking at a very brisk and determined pace, and she asks me with her Chinese accent if I have all the paperwork from the previous week. Usually, it's a very tedious and frustrating process for us both because we don't fill out our paperwork correctly. She gets frustrated and stands there impatiently as I fix the mistakes we've made on our lunch forms. And I swear the woman has no sense of humor. If I try to say a joke to lighten the mood/distract her from our incorrect paperwork, homegirl has no response. Straight up stoneface. Like, seriously, lighten up. I imagine going from lunchsite to lunchsite is pretty monotonous, I would expect that she'd appreciate me trying to add some fun into her job, but nooo.

Anyways, Wendy came last Thursday to watch us do lunch and make sure our protocol was correct. She also informed me that I was missing a delivery receipt from the previous week. This is bad. Wendy don't mess around. And I knew we didn't have the receipt. I knew where it was. Sitting on my desk. At home. Because I popped it in my pocket one day instead of putting it in our lunch folder where it belongs. F. So in her Christlike grace and mercy, Wendy says, "I come back to tomorrow, you have receipt." I say, "Yes maam!"

I forgot the receipt. I made the reminder on my phone. But when it went off, I was dancing. At a church dance (who has church dances? ... that's a post for another time). I forgot about it until the following morning. You know that feeling you get when you're lying in bed about to fall asleep and then realize that you forgot about that one big homework assignment due the next day? Yeah it was like that. You get that droopy feeling in your stomach and you say something like "freakin crap!!" So I tell the 5 or so people around me to pray that Wendy doesn't come. I was so scared that I'd be minding my own business, chillin with the kiddies, and then I'd see her and her oversized backpack coming up the stairs. She'd ask for the receipt and I'd look at the floor and admit that I had forgotten... And to make it worse, sometimes she comes at the very end of the day. So pretty much from 7:30am to 4pm I was on edge, asking God again and again, "Don't let Wendy come. Don't let Wendy come."

And she didn't come.

But the whole ordeal reminded me of something. I wrote about this maybe as my second or third post ever, but it came back in vivid fashion with this experience...

I don't ever want my relationship with Jesus to be like this, knowing that I'm not right and praying everyday, "God, don't let today be judgment day, don't let today be Jesus' second coming." Do it on a day where I haven't done anything wrong. Do it on a day that we do a service project or when I have Bible study, but not today, because today I was impatient with my friend or I looked at porn or I cheated on a test...

What a terrible way to live. The Bible says that it is for freedom that we have been set free. Even though I still think that that verse is redundant and confusing, it's still true. We've been set free--but that freedom can still be distorted into bondage if used incorrectly. Real freedom means that we can live without fear, be it from judgment day or from Wendy, the stone-hearted Chinatown lunch lady. God's kindness leads us to redemption, not his anger or judgment or our fear of those things. I think once I realize this, things will get easier. But for now, pray that Wendy doesn't come (I'll ask her this week what her real name is).