How do I even begin the discussion of the lessons I have learned from the amazing people who have come and worked at this crazy little bakery?
I started pulling out old photo envelopes that are overflowing with pictures of amazing people. Each person has a story. Each person has moved into a section of my heart. Each person has taught me lessons. Each person has left and continued to write their own stories.
I am humbled beyond words. I think of the first few years of interviews. Rand and I would sit down with a person and we would describe what this little bakery was all about. Usually we would begin with the truth that "This may look like a bakery, and it may smell like a bakery, but it is really SO much more." We would describe the truth that this little bakery - is our own personal experiment to see if we can create our own little peaceful, joyful, fun world that is FULL of love. We would explain that we were looking to hire people who were willing to join in our efforts to make a difference in our little corner of the world.
And each employee that we have hired through the past twenty one years has brought a piece of themselves. They have given and served with their hearts, and left both the bakery and Rand and I better for their existence! Some lessons are hard to learn, some are funny, some are painful, and some are so exciting that you can hardly describe them.
I wish I had the kind of memory that I could simply pull up the names and faces of each of these amazing people, but for me it's more like trying to remember every hike I've been on. I can't always remember where or when it was - but I remember feelings, and impressions. I remember the hard parts, and I remember the amazing vistas. Some hikes I remember every single detail, and I can smell the air and feel the sun. Still others I simply can remember the sense of awe I had.
Our employees have left the same types of footprints on my heart and mind. Some came for a short while, some are long timers, some I remember every detail, some are hard and challenging, some moved quietly and left beautiful impressions, while others continue to be a living part of my current life.
Folks ask me if we have ever had to let folks go from the bakery... and my answer usually goes something like this, "Great Harvest in Taylorsville is a unique place, it isn't a perfect fit for everyone. This does not mean that all individuals don't have amazing traits and parts and pieces, rather, this job just isn't for everyone. If it isn't a great fit, than hopefully (and usually) we part ways with a hug and gratitude for the lessons they have come and shared with us, and we continue to cheer them on in their new pursuits!"
Then again - it doesn't always go that smoothly - but the lessons learned are still so very valuable. People are amazing. So very different. Yet all folks seem to have a basic desire to love and be loved. A desire to learn and grow and share. A desire to make a difference in this world.
Gratitude runs so very deep for all the people who have helped create this bakery. My gratitude is also very deep for those who are working for us now. Each of them faithfully show up, put their generous, happy face on, set their own struggles aside for the time they are here - and then they reach out... out of their comfort zones, across the walls we usually hide behind, and they generously give to us, to each other, to each of you, and to this thing that is bigger than all of us, that we lovingly call "The Bakery"...