Bystanders

A few weekends back I had my worst restaurant experience in recent memory. All of us have had them. Bad food resulting in food poisoning. Or Bad service that made us want to stiff the waiter. Or the longest wait time ever, only to get stuck with the table right next to the kitchen.

I rarely complain following a bad restaurant experience but this time I did. I told the server I wanted to speak to a manager.

As the manager approached I figured out exactly why the restaurant was so dysfunctional. The manager asked a bus boy where table 72 was. The bus boy didn’t know. Then the manager approached the table next to mine, before finally figuring out it was my table who wished to have a conversation with him about the poor communication and lack of care from our waitress. “Hey, uh, were you guys wanting to talk to a manager?”

After the manager left the bus boy went on to explain how sorry he was for our poor experience, and that the restaurant, though only 2 months old, was really struggling. Bad communication between the cooks and servers. Lack of accountability from management. “It’s all a mess right now,” he said.

Clearly the problems stem from one person: the manager. He never looked anyone at my table in the eye. He slouched as he spoke to us, and barely offered an apology for sub-par service considering the positive reputation this restaurant has in my area. Indifference is a word that comes to mind. Did this guy even care? I have my doubts.

I think a lot of us are like the manager when it comes to life. The circumstances around force feed the lesson that the worst will likely happen. So who cares what our end of┬áthe bargain is, it’s all going to fall apart anyway, right?

Just like the manager, many of us are bystanders in a burning building. It’s always someone else’s problem. It’s always easier to point the finger away from ourselves.

Last week I read a quote in a book I’ve been reading. The words of truth stung like a yellowjacket on a warm summer day.

The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less. –Vaclav Havel

No time in history has given humans the ability to comprehend the meaning of life like today. This issue is not whether we have a grander perspective on life, now the issue is that no one cares. We’re all bystanders. We’re all waiting for someone else to take care of things for us.

Why not buck the trend? God didn’t send the disciples with a vague mission to accomplish. He wanted them to change the world, by giving away their lives.

We shouldn’t be bystanders. The meaning of life should be a such an overwhelming burden that we can’t help but rely on the God who makes all things possible.