You never know who’s watching 

I see a middle-age woman almost every morning at Starbucks. She sits with her coffee and a book way in the back as early as 5:15AM. Yesterday, after months of seeing her from a distance, I went up to her and introduced my self. She told me her name. I told her mine and we shook hands. I also told her that I was sorry for not introducing myself months ago. She smiled. She said that each morning she needs this centering time before work. And then the tables turned and she asked me, “How do you do it every day? You are always so happy and upbeat. How can you be this awake so early? Are you always full of laughter?”
I laughed (again) a little taken aback. I’m usually the one asking the questions. I’m usually the one observing others and witnessing the human spirit at its best. I can conjure up many stories from afar through gestures and energy. I don’t even need to speak to anyone. 

“It’s a privilege to be alive and I don’t take it for granted. Here we are today, right now. Tomorrow might never come. Besides what’s the alternative?”

“Everyone knows you and welcomes you so happy!”

I smiled. There is a great crew in the morning. They know how I like my drinks. It’s not a great mystery. I didn’t share that. I just stood there laughing.

My coffee order was ready. I said my goodbyes. She said hers. She returned to her book, and I saw her smile while shaking her head. She didn’t notice I was still observing her from afar. 

This morning I said “hello” and she smiled enthusiastically taking in my energy. It almost seemed as if she was waiting….

And that’s how it is, folks. You never know who really sees you, who you are jolting from afar, and who notices the energy you embrace (at 5AM). Be mindful. People live through our examples. Leave a trail of glitter and show the world how wonderful it is to be alive. And if you can’t leave sparkles then at least leave a kind word. It might be the one thing they need in order to keep going.

••Photo courtesy of Google images. 

Java Journal

A few weeks ago I was in Starbucks writing in my journal. Two gentlemen came and sat right across from me. They began chit-chatting, opened up their bibles and began to share scripture. I kept on writing but their voices began to echo through me. It was a busy morning in there but somehow I could feel and hear all they were discussing even when I tried to block it out. 

I stopped writing. I closed my eyes and with full abandonment entered their world. 

One said to the other, “The Lord will forgive you. He will have mercy upon us. Christ won’t hold this against you or me because we are walking the righteous path….” More scripture was recited. I began to stare away from them out the window, pen in hand, waiting for my heart to stop beating so tightly against my chest. 

They shared a lot of intimate moments and experiences for a while. One man cried, the other got up, walked around the table and hugged him. There, in the middle of a busy shop. No one noticed. The man wiped the tears away and sat down. The other sat in silence for a moment gathering his will to continue the conversation.

The story was not unlike another. I get to witness many of these, whether I am being told the stories or I am partaking from a distance. But, what I found interesting was the way they had used religion to mask their love affair. They spoke of their wives and children. I wanted to reach over to them, hold both their hands and tell them that they hold the key to changing their struggle and heartache. I wanted to hug them, look at them, see them, listen attentively, and let them know they weren’t alone and Christ doesn’t punish for loving anyone. And, if they needed to finally be happy freedom and truth needed to be addressed. 

But, this wasn’t my story. 

But, this is a story of hurt and confusion. It’s a story of living under erroneous pretenses. It’s a story of pretending and not pretending; loss and gain; faith and guilt. I had to take a few deep breaths while trying to hold my tears. I was paralyzed in that chair, feeling these two souls whose lives were better because of each other but also tragic because of their circumstances. I ached deeply for these strangers while feeling their love and admiration for one another. 

And…there…right there…in that coffee shop everything evolves and resolves. I left them still reading to each other, fighting their desires, attempting to tackle their faiths while denying what was real. 

We all fight something, right? We all have little secrets at times that eat us and shame us? Nothing is perfect. So if you love, please love harder. If you are miserable, please adjust your motives and find a plan. Challenges and obstacles rise to show us our strengths. Life is too short to feel shame, guilt, resentment and become bitter because you can’t change things right at this moment. Love openly and fully. Say your ‘I Love You’s’ as much as possible. Nothing lasts forever…