I didn’t plan for this to be a “Day in a Café.” I was really just stopping for coffee. Truthfully, I was really just stopping to buy coffee to allow me to have a place to sit. After all, who wants to get to work a whole hour early? I needed a place to stop between school drop off and start time. To make it look legitimate, I got a buttered challah to go with my coffee, and I sat down at a window counter next to a stack of handouts about cholesterol and heart disease. I confessed the butter and opened my Bible.
“I always like to read my Bible over a cup of coffee, too,” said the tall blond highlighted woman beside me. She had a beautiful angular jaw and nose that made me want to say, “I think I’ve seen you before. But you were in a museum next to an engraving that said ‘Athena.’” I smiled through my chapped lips and told her I do too. She put her ear buds back in and went back to typing. She was probably blogging about the poor, aging, tired woman with chapped lips next to her at the counter. I regretted getting decaf.
I rifled through my Bible, searching for verses to share when my challah was finished and my work day started. “It is good that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces” (Psalm 119:71,72). I need to stop worrying about my dry mouth and think more about the law of God’s. His word is better than gold and silver or being like Athena.
I pondered, while my counter-mate typed until her phone rang. I didn’t try to eavesdrop, but Athena had a rather loud, Olympian voice to go with her nose. It seems her little boy was in the clinic, and she had to figure out if she needed to bail on her bagel and head to school. She drilled down to the real question: Did he just want to come home to play video games? Couldn’t he stick it out? I wanted to tell Athena that sometimes mortals just need to be home, especially when they’re little and doing big things like school. She smelled a mythological illness. He gave in and told her he would stay in class; I wondered how he really felt.
Athena immediately dialed a girlfriend and announced the whole scenario with a final, “Do you think I did the right thing?” She repeated the details like a second coating of butter on a challah and asked again, “Do you think I did the right thing?”
Satisfied, she went back to blogging “about me,” and I read, “Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments” (Psalm 119:73). I had to go to work.
“I’ll pray for your little boy to feel better today,” I said as I smashed up my trash and picked up my Bible. She smashed up her ear buds and turned to face me. “Oh, thank you. Do you have kids? It’s so hard to know what to do. Did you hear me ask my friend if I did the right thing? I hope I did the right thing.”
“I do have kids. Most of the time you’re going to do the right thing, and every now and then you’ll make mistakes. I’ll pray for you to know what to do today.”
Her phone rang. It was school again. He was back in the clinic. She mouthed to me, “I’m so sorry. Thank you. Thank you.” I mouthed back, “I’ll be praying for you.”
She smiled, and I smiled back. We all crave to be affirmed, to have others tell us we’re okay and the decisions we make are okay. Even Athena needs to know that.
- Cafe Challenge: Ask the Lord to help you listen to the needs of people around you and give you someone who needs to be affirmed. Then trust the Holy Spirit to help you know what to say and thank Him when He does!