Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Conviction and Coffee.

I went to Starbucks this afternoon on my way back to work. As I pull up, I see the elderly man who looks like Santa sitting at the table by the window with his laptop. When I walked in, I saw what appeared to be a homeless man sitting at one table, smiling, and talking to himself...or maybe me or someone else? Who knows? And then I walked up to the counter where a man in an angora wooly green sweater was getting a tiny little cup of coffee.

Three different men. All with different stories to tell I'm sure.

I found myself wanting to talk to each one of them. Santa has always intrigued me. The Homeless Man was intimidating at first, so now I felt guilty for not looking his I needed to make up for that. I walked by him and smiled at him and he put his head down. These are the moments when I need my kids. They are so outgoing that they overcome my shyness and help me reach out to others. But without them, I shrink back into my shell. I kept walking. Walked past Santa. He never looks up from his computer. Now I am outside with Angora Sweater Man. He's smoking. I shouldn't bother him. Besides, he looks like he has it all together...well, maybe besides the furry sweater. So I get in the car to drive took me a few minutes because I was in an awkward spot. As I came around the corner, I saw Furry Sweater man leaning over with his head in his hands. Maybe he didn't have it all together afterall.

I got all teary-eyed. It always amazes me how God uses St. Arbucks to speak to me. Here's the deal....I want so desperately to be like Jesus. I want so desperately to show people kindness and love. And I couldn't stop picturing what it would have looked like if Jesus had walked into that Starbucks. I can't help but think he would have sat down with the homeless man that everyone else was trying to ignore. He would have looked him in his eyes instead of looking the other way and he would talked to him. Maybe he would have asked Santa what he liked to drink and bought him a coffee. Or maybe when he saw angora sweater man with his head in his hands, he would've stopped the car and gone back to ask him what was wrong.

I think people go to Starbucks or other coffee places for reasons other than coffee. Maybe they wanted someone to reach out to them. Maybe they just want someone to talk to. Today... I failed.

My heart was convicted though. I hope next time it's different. I hope next time, I'M different.


Lisa P said...

Kristi, 'failed' would be to miss the lesson. I often do the same thing--try to picture what the situation would look like if it were Jesus and not me. Somehow, it's never as simple as WWJD. Walking in real time with Jesus is as challenging as anything. I love it when I hear his voice clearly, feel his courage to follow through, and see his results in the end.

Good news? The day ain't over yet!

Heidi said...

Your have a beautiful heart my friend.

VikingMom said...

Spiritual Spice it's good to have you around. I have to admit that I would've popped in and popped out of Starbucks without a second thought about those men. The lesson you learned you have now passed on to us--it wasn't lost.

kristi said...

So, I tuned into your blog today, expecting to see the blog of questions for me - remember? I'll just go ahead and assume you did write this blog a question to me, but were too embarrassed to admit it. That's ok. My two cents: I hope you're not feeling guilty about anything. I hope you don't find your worth in what you do. I hope you feel that you're worth something because God loves you, and for no other reason.

Kristi said...

Chris...don't try to throw your wife under the bus by blogging as her...

So here's what I think. I don't so much as feel guilty as I do sad. And I think that is okay. It's a sadness for me since I didn't reach out to them and my heart told me I should, and a sadness for them because they seemed a little broken too. We're all broken. I wasn't trying to find worth by reaching out to these guys...or by wanting to reach out to these guys. I just wanted to show them love. They just needed some love.

Think of it like this - you just told me I was worth something because God loves me. Maybe today, God needed me to be his hands and feet to let those people know they were worth something and that God loves them too. Maybe they would have felt a little less broken...and maybe I would have felt a little more whole.

That was the conviction Chris.

And with that, I will step down from my soapbox.

You know I love our conversations.

Sarah B. said... need to have last name initials or something. At first I thought you were going a little crazy talking to yourself through your blog...but I am guessing there is a Chris & Kristi attached to that first blog. I totally understand..and not that you feel guilty but I know I get convicted and become "sad/guilty/whatever" when I have not taken advantage of the opportunities that God has given me to share with those in need. And the fact that we know God loves us should make us feel sad when we don't share that with others. It's so hard sometimes when we live in a place that is so fast moving and we don't always openly see the broken-ness of people, we should all wear it on our shirts, that would give us a reminder. Just like I wish God would leave me signs in my mailbox after I pray for

Don said...

KT, as Lisa P said, "The day ain't over yet." Although technically it IS over, there's a strong chance your "angels unaware" will be at that Starbucks again. Maybe you and Santa will meet after all!

I certainly understand that shyness/boldness struggle you have. It's no fun being shy.

I often think of the encounter I had with a young homeless guy at Walgreens one Saturday morning last year. (I think I told you about it at the time.) I was in a big hurry, but I saw him outside the store, sitting on the sidewalk with his head in his hands. I walked passed him at first--I WAS busy, after all--but he looked so lonely. I took about 20 minutes with him and gave him a few bucks (which he promised he would use to buy food, but who knows). As much as MOST of me resisted spending that time with him (Steven was his name), it was wonderful to have done so.

I didn't want it to be my "good deed" for the day--or for the year, for that matter. Like you, I just wanted to let the guy know somebody noticed and that he was worth the "sacrifice" of a little bit of my time. He ministered to me as much as I "ministered" to him.

Thanks for the important reminder that we need to always keep our eyes open and our minds judgment-free. I'll be praying for you as you cross paths with other folks like the Three Gentlemen of Starbucks. Hopefully, the rest of us will encounter others like them.


Jewels said...

Kristi - I completely relate to your blog on so many levels. My heart breaks for so many people and I constantly question if I am doing my part of being like Jesus. Thank you for your response to my blog also. I agree about buying used kids stuff. My sister has bought most of her sons clothing and toys at second hand stores and I know I will do the same. It makes me feel like I am being financially diligent and that I am like you said not contributing to the massive waste issue.

The Craftypigs said...

Flip that and I wonder what the three different men thought of you. Wow, she looks like she's got it together. She's cute. She has a nice smile. Does she have children? She's married. etc....

Other flip, we live in a fallen world. Some people are better left alone. Be safe my friend. I would much rather you be a coward than hurt. As would Jesus.

You touch us all, by the way, and we love you and are changed because of you. Know that too.