Dish Out Ice Cream
Here I am in Bagram, Afghanistan. Its not so bad here. I could have it a lot worse. I have my own quarters, share a bathroom with another person, can walk to the gym, my office, and the dining facility. I feel guilty. There are so many soldiers, marines, and others that haven’t showered for weeks, haven’t eaten a hot meal for weeks, and go to sleep only after taking their turn at a guard post, squinting their eyes through a pair of night vision goggles. They stare down the barrel of their rifles every day. I am so grateful for them and their sacrifice, knowing that they stand watch courageously.
The dining facility I eat at most of the time is kind of grungy and dark. The food is okay. The dining facility workers are mostly TCN’s (third country nationals), working here as part of a contract. Most of them don’t speak English and I point to what I want and respond with a “thank you” as they hand me my paper plate. Most of the time, they have a blank look on their face. After all, they just dished out their millionth serving of whatever.
Except this one guy. He is ALWAYS smiling. And the other day, I figured out why. He gets to dish out ice cream! He has 5-6 tubs of the same flavors of ice cream: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, mint chocolate chip, regular chocolate chip, and pralines and cream. That part sounds rather boring, but I am convinced that this guy is always smiling because he just KNOWS that ice cream makes people happy! And he gets to help! People come to him because they want to, not because there isn’t any other choice of what to eat. I cant walk away without smiling to myself every time I get some for myself. He knows he’s got the best job in the whole facility.
It made me wonder though. I wondered about what we “dish out” every day to those around us. Do we dish out “ice cream” that helps people feel a little happiness, puts a smile on their face or helps heal something on the inside? Or do we dish out some bland or awful “side dish” that ends up putting the bad taste of discouragement, resentment, anger, complaining, or negativity in others. Do others genuinely enjoy coming to us, desiring to interact and enjoying the experience, or do they interact with us out of regret or resentment because they they have to or need to.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be the “ice cream” man. Its just a happier way to live. The lesson I learned from this guy humbly handing out a creamy frozen dairy concoction was this: I am going to be more aware of my interactions with others and choose to dish out ice cream. After all, it really is a choice.
Life On! Its yours. Own it.