Last Friday morning some of the hemma staff and I served 438 breakfasts at Our Place. Our Place serves breakfast every day to hundreds of people in need. On days like Friday, when a business sponsors a breakfast, they are able to cook and prepare a special breakfast that is much appreciated by those who take their meals there. My favourite part was doing the dishes. I love the simple yet important task of washing plates — the work so clearly laid out before you, the satisfaction of the hot steaming plates emerging from the machine, being stacked once again on the shelves, ready for the next meal, the next person standing in line.
There is an amazing sense of community at Our Place, people helping people, serving one another, the basic necessities of life — food, shelter, kindness, compassion. Serving there puts things in perspective and connects you to the simple things in life. Seva, or selfless service is like that, it feeds ones spirit. That’s why I sang as I washed the dishes, and why I felt so energized after an early morning job of serving breakfast.
Once the holiday season is over, the special breakfasts only come around once, maybe twice a week. Imagine if 180 businesses or organizations sponsored one breakfast a year, that could happen every other day, 365 and it could be an every day event! There is no simple solution to ending poverty and homelessness, but it can start with a simple gesture of serving a meal, of washing a plate, of realizing that none of us are really so different from the other when it comes to our basic needs.
I haven’t changed the world, or much in Victoria, after having spent a morning at Our Place, and a few days with Reverend Al on his early morning coffee runs, but something in me has changed. I feel a connection to the people I meet on the street that I didn’t have before, I see someone from my community as opposed to a stranger I should fear or avoid.
Take time to practice selfless service in some small or large way this year in your community. In my opinion doing the dishes is one of the best spiritual practices there is!