Thursday, March 13, 2008

pasta lesson

I am challenged in certain areas of inter-personal and social skills. Embarrassing sometimes, really. I don't know why talking to certain types of people is so easy for some and so difficult for me. I was asking God about this last night and he reminded me of the pasta man in Cayo Santa Maria.

There was a guy who made pasta to your specifications at the buffet in the Cuban resort we were at in February. I decided to have the pasta for lunch one day and noticed that the man was training a young guy for the job. The experienced pasta man stood to the side while I instructed the young fellow on which ingredients to put in my sauce (just pointed at stuff because my Spanish is no good and I didn't know how well he spoke English). While the sauce was simmering, he scooped the spaghetti into a bowl to dump it in boiling water. He took one scoop. Then he took a second scoop. Oh boy, I really didn't need a second scoop. I am not a huge eater and hate wasting food, but I bit my tongue and decided just to let him do his thing because he was new. The older pasta man jumped in at this point and wagged a long finger at me while yelling animatedly at his young colleague.

"Look at her face. Just look at her face! It is too much!" The pasta man scooped out half of the noodles and let the young man finish my dish, adding more instructions in Spanish about keeping your eyes on the customer, at least that's what it sounded and looked like to me.

I was immediately struck by the force of what he had said and felt an exclamation mark hovering over the scenario, like God was attention to what just happened here.

In the past few weeks I have failed quite a few times in how I interact with people. Many times I am oblivious to how my actions are affecting those around me. Other times when I do see how people respond, I fail to do anything about it, frozen by the fear that it might become a messy situation if I address it and assume it is just better to leave things alone, brush them off as if they did not happen or are no big deal. And this is how one overlooks the weak, the needy and all their subtle cries for help. This is how one never has the courage to address misunderstandings and deepen friendships by walking through conflict in love. This is how denial becomes part of ones modus operandi. This is how my inner turmoil gets worse instead of finding a healthy way of being working out.

Look at their faces! All those people God has put around me. I must see them, look at them, and notice what is written on their faces. Then I must have the courage to do something about it, change my patterns of behaviour, and become a servant.

Easier said than done. God help me in this one.

This is a picture from Remedios, Cuba.


Anonymous said...

Matte, I don't know how it is possible but almost everything that you write here resonates in my life too. Man, I simply wish I had the eloquence to explain it and I thank God that you do! Thank you for all your words of encouragement and wisdom (even if they weren't necessarily with that express purpose! :D). Amazing. Becca xxx

Matte Downey said...

thanks Becca. your words are a boost to my soul and God knows we all need a boost every now and again. :-)

Shelley said...

Wow this one sounds simple but it is so requires me to stop and think about the other person...which sounds like 'duh', but I get so focussed on my own agenda...this one is hard. It is a conscious choice, it doesn't come naturally to me.