I asked our barista Emma to share her experience of volunteering at Palate Coffee Brewery. A few words about Emma: she’s like that girl that Tom Petty sings about in Free Fallin’. (She loves Jesus.)
A little more than a year ago, I made a split-second decision to volunteer at a local coffee shop that was working to fight human trafficking, and it changed my life.
The coffeeshop, of course, was Palate. I decided to take the job because I had previously been involved in an organization that was working to fight human trafficking, but I wanted to do more. I also just so happen to love coffee, so that played a role in my decision. Despite my reasons for working at Palate, however, God had plans for me that I could not have foreseen.
I soon realized that Palate isn’t the place to go if you just want to grab a quick coffee and get on your way. Palate is a place to build a community. It’s the coffeeshop you go to when you want to get engrossed in a random conversation. It’s where you go to build new friendships.
You see, it doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas or not. At Palate, the spirit of Christmas is always there.
During my so-far brief period of time at Palate, I have fostered a wonderful community. I couldn’t believe that after such a short time I had been welcomed into a family of absolutely wonderful people. I found out about my acceptance into the college I wanted to go while working one evening, and from the flood of excitement that met me when I told my co-baristas, I determined I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else when I found out.
It was not until recently that I realized God was changing my heart through these wonderful people. I was learning to be more open and inviting. I was learning that it’s ok to talk to people and be friendly and kind – it’s ok if it’s weird. You never know who needed your compliment on their smile or the knowledge that you know their drink order by heart.
I’ve learned the incredible benefits of being awkwardly and unconditionally kind. I’ve learned not to take on the high-schooler attitude of limiting who you talk to and hang out with, but instead look to the example of Jesus who wasn’t bothered by what others thought. He loved everyone.
Even though for some people this is just a once-a-year attitude, at Palate I learned that everyday should be treated like Christmas time.
Palate has reminded me of a truth I had forgotten: no one is excluded from God’s invitation into relationship with Him, so we should treat everyone as if they were created by the God of universe.