Monday, December 6, 2010

Reverb10 Dec3 - The moment this year I felt most alive

December 3 Prompt: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author - Ali Edwards)

I spent a lot of time thinking on this one. I thought a lot on what it really meant to me to be "most alive." For me being most alive meant connecting with the things that mean the most to my life. That made it easy for me to narrow it down.

It was the middle of the summer - hot and humid. I had been challenged reading the book Guerrilla Lovers by Vince Antonucci. There were a million thoughts running through my head - doing something bigger than myself for God, being dissatisfied with the status quo of my faith, and delivering surprise attacks of God's love to change the course of someone's life. At the end of the chapter I had just read, I was handed a challenge - Do something. Do something for someone out of love and kindness, just to show them God's love. The worse thing about it was I couldn't just read it and let it go. I had to do it. A small group of people from our church was reading the chapter together, and we were all going to do the challenge on our own through the week and then report back the next week. I couldn't just let it go, but how could I do it?

Then it hit me - Starbucks. I was going to Starbucks to get some grading done. I was going alone, and staying for a while. I would buy someone their coffee, and tell them God loves them. That was the plan. Standing in the bathroom at my house, my heart pounded at the thought of it. Why is it so hard to love a stranger enough to buy them coffee and talk to them? I prayed. It was one of those prayers like "God, are you sure this is what You want me to do?" The butterflies left momentarily, but they returned during my 5 mile ride to the Starbucks. I prayed again. I prayed for my unsuspecting coffee victim - that they would see my gesture as love from God and not insanity....

I got out of the car and walked toward the store. It was unusually quiet - not many cars around. As I walked toward the door, I could see in the window that there was no one in line to order coffee. "WHAT!?!?" I thought. "There's always someone ordering coffee!" Then I continued my prayer to God, "Not Funny!" I told Him. "How can I get someone coffee if they're not in line?" By this time I was opening the door to Starbucks, and I heard God talk to me. He said, "Go to the bathroom." I know that sounds crazy, but God told me to go to the bathroom, so I went.

When I got out of the restroom, there was still no one in line. I was thoroughly confused with God. I reasoned in my head that I'd score a little table near the line, and when someone came up, I'd run up to the order line and buy the person's coffee. Awkward? yes, but the plan had potential. I walked up and ordered my venti skinny cinnamon dolce latte - my favorite. As I was standing there talking with the barista about how to spell my name ("Sarah with an h at the end - my parents paid extra for the h at the end"), he walked up. He didn't look like the person I had in my head during my car prayer. In fact, I had actually prayed for a girl, not a shorter, graying, mid 40's guy wearing shorts, a polo, vintage looking Birkenstocks, and John Lennon style glasses.

"Can I get you anything else," asked the barista.
"Yeah, I want to get this guy's coffee," I said, motioning to the unsuspecting man.
"Yeah. I want to get your coffee."
"But I was going to get a breakfast sandwich too."
"That's ok," I gulped. "I'd love to buy your meal." The barista took his order.
"Wow," he said, "In all my life, I've never had anyone do anything like this for me." (my heart was beating so hard, and I felt so happy - so centered - I thought that he was going to get it. I couldn't wait to tell him about Jesus.) Then he said, "I get it, this is like your good deed for the day, right? Don't worry. I'll pay it forward."

My heart sank. He didn't get it. This wasn't about me! This wasn't about me being a "do-gooder." Then the words fell out of my mouth, "This is more than just a good deed or random act of kindness. God has given me so many good things in my life, and he offers them to everyone through his Son Jesus, and I just wanted to do something tangible to show you God's love."

His jaw hit the floor. The barista who had been fidgeting behind the counter froze and stared at us. I didn't know how this was going over.

Then he said to me, "That's great. What church do you go to?" We spent the next few minute talking about a disabled friend of his who was looking for a church. We got our coffee and went our separate ways.

I was thrilled and disappointed all at the same time. I did what God told me to do, and I showed God's love to a stranger. I was able to speak clearly and not stumble over words. I was a good testimony to the barista - thrilled. I was disappointed because instead of really soaking in and asking follow up questions about God for himself, he immediately deflected the love onto his friend. After thinking about it for a while though, the disappointment turned to satisfaction because he was touched enough by my gesture to realize that what I was showing him was what a friend was looking for.

Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. A different author each day delivers a prompt to help you complete the mission of Reverb 10.

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