One of the really cool things that my friend Larry does with the groups he takes to Toronto is the way he deals with food. He’ll give one person some money to buy our meal. This isn’t like, “Here’s enough for everyone to order off the menu.” Rather he’ll give us less than that, less than what you think you need. So after the concert Friday night, we headed to get shawarma. Entering Ali Babba’s at 12:42am, we see two young men working the counter and the negotiation begins. The result was we had more than enough money to buy more than enough food.
Saturday morning Larry got up early to go get breakfast for us. An hour later I heard the door of the sanctuary slam and peaked through my sleeping bag to see him carrying in juice, bagels, and donuts. It didn’t seem like much for eight people. We gathered in the kitchen housed in the basement of the church snacking on bagels and telling stories. Then came the infamous “donut circle.” He pulled the first of six donuts out of the box, took a bite and passed it to the next person in the circle. Everyone followed suit until it was gone. Then another. And another. etc. Once again, what seemed to be a small amount ended up being more than enough.
After packing up we went to the St. Lawrence Market. Each person was given a little money to buy something to contribute to our picnic lunch. While the participants who had traveled with Larry before said this was a generous stipend, it still didn’t seem like much. Off we went in separate directions to find a portion of our next meal uncertain of what others would buy. At the prescribed time we reunited to pool our groceries and discover a third time we had plenty.
What I think I’ll remember…
- You don’t need to eat as much as you think.
- You don’t need to spend as much as you think.
- A simple meal shared is better than an extravagant meal alone.
- Hospitality doesn’t hinge on your budget, circumstances, or location. Hospitality is a state of mind and a condition of the heart.