Monday, January 13, 2014

The Cards I've Been Dealt


"You're the average of the five people you spend the most time with." -Jim Rohn

Snowball fight on our recent Mid-Year retreat
If this quote has any truth to it, I am an incredibly lucky man.  Over the course of six months, I have spent more time with Sara, Gracie, Mike, Emily, and Kelly than I have spent with any of my close friends or family during any other six month period in my life.  By working side-by-side in the Marquard Center kitchen we have gotten to know each other to the point that we can pick up on each others "ism's" as Gracie calls them.  These "ism's" are the quirks that are uniquely a part of us.  For instance, I tend to walk on the balls of my feet and say words like "dope", "sweet", and "phenomenal" more often than most other human beings.  This year I have developed a strong affinity for dates (the kind you eat not the kind you go on) and this affinity has provided plenty of jokes at my expense, which we all tend to enjoy.  I've noticed a few of us beginning to incorporate the phrase "that's happening" into our lives.  Courtesy of Emily Ford, we all have a new motivational mantra.  Kelly tends to use the word "banana" like I might use the work "knucklehead". "Don't put your hands in there you banana!" is one example that comes to mind.  Sara's enthusiasm for any idea is demonstrated by the phrase, "OH MY GOSH, CAN WE PLEASE DO THAT!" That enthusiasm is extremely contagious I might add.  Mike has the magical ability to add comedy to any situation.  Whenever I have to ask for a second opinion about the seasoning in a dish we're serving for dinner, Mike is there to say, "Why not?  You ain't driving!"  This is just the kind of motivation I need to get a dish completed with a smile on my face.
Zach preparing dinner

These "ism's" are certainly not restricted to the Kitchen Staff.  The shelter crew, the other half of our community, has just as many if not more examples of these phenomena.  Since our community has been enriched by five fascinating citizens of Germany, we have learned a wealth of cultural quirks that you cannot learn from reading a book.  I've noticed phrases like "in general," and "the thing is," being used frequently when trying to prove a point.  We use them in the kitchen now to interact lightheartedly.  When we label our leftover dishes made from dinner we prefer to write "Wegetables" instead of vegetables to poke fun at our German roommates' pronunciation of the letter V.  Timo has introduced me to the wonders of bacon-wrapped dates.  He has single-handedly brought my love affair with the Middle Eastern fruit into the stratosphere.  Thanks to him, I will have an hors d'oeuvre up my sleeve that will guarantee hit dinner parties for the rest of my life. Ephi has taught me a new way to tell people to watch out or be careful with "Attention! Attention!" Hannah's "ism" just happens to be whipping up five-star quality meals like it's her job (which it's not, she works at the shelter).  We all tend to enjoy her cooking, and I think many of us kitchen folk have wondered if we should just have her serve the guests.

Community secret Santa exchange
These instances all demonstrate the beauty of living in a diverse community.  We become the average of each other.  Where or when else will you get the opportunity to incorporate the culture of Texas, Ohio, Indiana, New jersey, Oklahoma, and Massachusetts into your life?  Let alone Germany?  If you are a person that values the diversity of ideas and perspectives, there are not many ways to live more diversely than community.  Not only have I gained a vastly more encompassing perspective of the world from working closely and living with these folks, I have also picked up on each of their strengths.  Each person in this community has left an impression on me that I have no doubt has changed me for the better.  Whether it be work ethic, lightheartedness, positivity, capacity to love, or determination, each one of my roommates, or should I say brothers and sisters, have shown me how to be a better person.  I am eternally grateful that God has deemed me worthy to receive such an abundance of good personalities into my life.  When I stroll the top floor of the Marquard Center (our apartment) on my days off, I cannot avoid the living and breathing inspiration even if I tried.  I have seen strength in every individual in my community...strength I want to be a part of my own life.  I can only hope that I have made some positive impressions of my own with them, because they have given me so much that it seems difficult to ever be able to repay.  If this community happens to be the cards God has dealt for me this year, I have been dealt a royal flush. 

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