Monday, November 19, 2012

Eavesdrop in the Coffee Shop




This morning, the office "fairies" are working in my office this morning, putting together the various pieces that are needed to make it workable. Like shelves. And bulletin boards. And pretty things.  So, instead of driving aimlessly around the city in search of inspiration, I headed to a local coffee shop that I know does not have wireless, in an effort to focus on the list of to do's, including the need to write.

When I walk in, there is only one other table near me. Two women talking about their staff Christmas party on the weekend. They are obviously mid-conversation because they are full throttle bashing their boss for not closing their workplace early and making some of the staff have to come straight from work. Halfway through my coffee and scone, they are still skewering said boss, right down to the choice of cutlery and drinks served. It sounds like a small business, from the way they are speaking, with the "boss" also being the owner that calls the shots.  One of the women begins to move from the skewering of the boss to her own way of dealing with it. She does her job. No more, no less. She doesn't give her boss any extra time or energy. She doesn't pay out of pocket for things that she used to because she is tired of being underappreciated.  Just as I am ready to scribble on my napkin some clever advice about getting the plank out of her own eye, I realize that I am working her over in my mind to the same extent. Sometimes, I'm so dull. I get to the point in my head where I've talked myself down off the ledge and extending her grace mentally…and they start in on church. And fellow church goers. And, I'm back in that place where my mental attack begins again. I have to begin to discipline my mind. I need to reign it in.

Thankfully, for my state of mind, in walks three old guys. They sit between me and the women and begin to compare their weekends, excema treatments and hip replacement progress. I kid you not. If only, I'm thankful for the fact that their conversations drown out that of the women, and the voices in my head as well.

And then it happens, one of the gentlemen, poses the question to his friends. "What can we do to ease the situation in Israel? It's intolerable." So begins a discussion that I am shamelessly eavesdropping on. It's such a beautiful thing. They know their stuff. Obviously, they are well educated on the subject, which is so inspiring. I'm holding back tears as they speak, thankful for the hat I wore today to cover my eyes. They know about the number of Israeli gunboats off the coast, the square mileage of land in the Gaza strip, the desperation of the people on both sides of the conflict. Their discussion is so gracious and well spoken, they are thoughtfully pointing out approaches that citizens here in Saskatoon can take to care for those overseas that are embroiled in the conflict. Then it drops into the conversation, an idea to get their respective churches involved. Oh my lanta. It does something to me to erase the voices in my head that say all is lost. That the generation before us or after us doesn't "get it". That the church is filled with pew warmers and those who walk out unchanged every Sunday morning.

Sometimes I wonder at the things God puts in front of us. The conversations we are able to hear.  The way that God speaks to us through those around us.  And how we can learn from those around us, for better or worse.

I'm sure it's inappropriate to hug a group of old guys in a coffee shop but I might.

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