The next morning, I had a recurring meeting at 9 a.m. After the meeting, I was ready to leave my supervisor’s office when he stopped me. “I have some things to discuss with you,” he said. I was intrigued. For the next half hour, he told me all about his vision for events that we could host for users of our software, how he wants to develop a healthy company culture, and how he wants to put more thought and effort into our bi-monthly company lunches. God’s answer to my and my parent’s prayers tumbled out of his mouth as he cast his vision. I suddenly had purpose and a direction, a niche in the company that God had equipped me to fill with my unique personality, experience, and skills.
The first event I threw my energy into was our coming company lunch and training which was to be held in Partners’ spacious conference room next door on January 17. We have simply NO space at Olive Tree; we’re crammed into our space like sardines in a can. In a flash of inspiration, I offered to make the Partners’ staff a lunch of their own as a thank you. The menu for Partners? A triple batch of vegetarian chili, homemade cornbread, and a lemon cream pie.
But later, as I was buying cans and cans of beans at Fred Meyer, I questioned my offer to make Partners a meal. After all, we’re talking at least twenty people! As Olive Tree’s company lunch approached, I worried about the details of trying to coordinate both meals at the same time. I felt like my coordination of the meal for Olive Tree was a litmus test. In my interview, I professed to be skilled at planning events and organizing. Could I live up to my profession? Through a miracle of God’s grace, both meals came off without a hitch.
I used the website PerfectPotluck.com to track what Olive Tree employees were bringing to the potluck lunch. We had six kinds of chili, five salads, four pans of cornbread and bread, and five yummy desserts. The events planning committee, of which I am now the head, helped with set up for Olive Tree’s meal and everything ran like clockwork—there were enough places at the tables for everyone, there was an abundance of food, and the presentations and training by several Olive Tree staff came off without a technological hitch. Several people complimented me on the coordination of the meal and others eagerly discussed what kind of potluck we could do for February’s lunch. I even had helpers for the grunt work of cleaning up and taking the garbage to the dumpster in the cold wind.
After work, I went over to Partners and washed some of my dishes from their meal. There was an abundance of leftover chili, so a number of us enjoyed another warm bowl of chili on Wednesday as the snow swirled outside. I received many compliments about the meal from the Partners’ staff, too.
However, it wasn’t the compliments I was after with the two meals. As I reflect back on Tuesday, it was the community that was created around the meals that was the goal. Meals have the ability to foster in our hearts a sense of belonging to a community. Perhaps this is why one of the Sacraments is a meal. It signifies belonging to the family of faith and belonging to a community means that everyone has a place, that everyone matters. I’m praying that both Olive Tree and Partners’ employees know that they belong to a community of faith as many more meals are enjoyed together in the coming months.
P.S. I’m not sure where the idea originated, but Olive Tree will take on Partners in a Ping Pong Doubles Tournament starting this coming Thursday. It will be fun! Partners has been referring to the Olive Tree team in general as the “Olives.” This should be interesting. :o)