Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I Almost Missed Him

This morning I headed to Panera to one of my favorite work spaces. I go there for the coffee and yummy soufflés, wi-fi, and no laundry to distract me. As I was walking in, I spotted a man several doors down, sitting on a bench. Dirty. Tired. Alone.

Buy him a coffee and a pastry.

In a rush to get a few things done before my next appointment, I rushed past him and ordered my coffee and breakfast.

Buy him a coffee and a pastry.

After prepping my coffee (I like my cream and sugar with a little coffee), I sat down, unloaded my laptop, and began answering emails that had come in since last night.

Buy him a coffee and a pastry.

My morning routine includes answering emails, tracking with the latest deals, and reading blogs.  

Buy him a coffee and a pastry.

I even reposted a good one on adoption: "Adoption puts a stake in the ground that says 'Restoration? Right here.' And I want to stand as near as I can to that sign, to that post, to that glory."

Buy him a coffee and a pastry.

And a friend posted this to her timeline "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.  Have an uncomfortable day!"

And it was that moment I decided to listen to the voice I had been determined to block out. Here I am quoting about restoration while eating my cozy soufflé and I'm ignoring the chance I have to enter into brokenness right outside the restaurant I'm sitting in.

I promptly shut my laptop and went to the cashier to buy a coffee and a muffin. What kind of coffee and muffin would he like? He's going to think I'm silly. What if he's offended? This is stupid.

I decide on regular coffee and a blueberry muffin. Safe choices I thought. And I walk out the door and out of my comfort zone to the bench.

His name was Larry. When I introduced myself, he heard "Suzie" and said he'd had lots of girlfriends with the name Suzie (some wonderful, some horrible, he explained). I bashfully offered him the coffee and muffin.  He asked for 8 sugars, a little bit of cream, and 7 butters. After I retrieved them, we chatted a little about our mutual love for Michigan, his enjoyment of good coffee, and how his loss of some sight contributed to him not being able to ride around the country on his motorcycle anymore. With a wink and a toothless smile he said he would have been happy to give me a ride sometime.

I realized after saying goodbye that I had met Larry once before. It's common in Kansas City to see people on the corners of highway exits with signs that say "Homeless and hungry" or "God bless you, anything helps." This spring in our van we carried Ziploc bags full of waters, granola bars, and miscellaneous sundries to hand out at the stop lights.  Larry had been one of those men we had stopped to give a bag to and say God bless you.

I remembered his rugged face.

Today I almost missed him. 

I was too busy in my own world, in my busyness and rush. I had things to do, meetings to make.  

I was too busy in my own pride, in my insecurities and hesitancy. What would he think of me?

Did I change his life forever? Nope. Did I make a lasting impact? Probably not. Will I remember this encounter a year from now? I don't know.  

But today I spent $4.29 on a coffee with 8 sugars, a little bit of creamer, and a blueberry muffin with 8 butters. Larry smiled (and maybe tried to pick me up). And I remembered to listen when the Spirit speaks.

Today I almost missed Jesus.

But this time, I stopped.


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