Today I sat at Starbucks to get some work done. I scoped out the tables and chose the area where I thought I would be least distracted, as well as have a nice view of all that may go on in the cafe area. Three hours of focus time waited in front of me like an eager coach watching me at the starting gates. Productivity would be my friend today.
Within five minutes of arranging my round wooden table with my iced green tea, oatmeal, computer, Bible, and note pad, Michelle wanted to start a conversation.
Michelle was loud. I mean really loud. She was checking out something on facebook and she roared with laughter and leaned over to tell me all about her friend in Pennsylvania. I smiled and asked her a few questions and from that point on, we were friends.
She discovered I like tea, not coffee. I learned she likes venti coffee with lots of cream and sugar and she can get refills for 54 cents. She prefers the banana walnut bread and chocolate covered graham crackers. She is the admin for several very important facebook groups. Her mom loves pumpkin spice cookies with nutmeg and a dash of cinnamon. She takes penicillin for an aching tooth. Her good friend passed away in 2007 and she still carries her friend's ID around in her fanny pack.
Throughout the morning, Michelle would randomly erupt in boisterous laughter. As people would come in and leave Starbucks she would shout something friendly their direction.
Within the first few minutes of sitting next to Michelle, I was faced with a choice: Put some earphones in and ignore, or watch, listen, and see what God may want me to learn.
It wasn't long before a lump filled my throat. "Oh how Jesus must love this woman" flooded my thoughts. She is such a treasure, no inhibition. She displayed a taped up Holy Bible on her table. When she asked what I was working on, I explained Retreat de Moxie to her. She instructed me not to go on and on as some speakers do. "Just stick to the point. Paint a picture with your words, but don't get off track." Wise, indeed.
Meeting Michelle and engaging in conversation with her on a day I wanted to focus and be in my own little world was a trip down humility lane. As I thought about how Jesus loves her, it also turned me to thoughts of repentance in thinking I'm more important than I really am. Michelle told me five or six times what she was doing on facebook was very, very important. I'm sure it was! Who am I to feel like God would be more concerned with my retreat preparation than Michelle taking care of her facebook groups? She was passionate about her work. She said out loud, "I just love this facebook friend" in the same way I often say that I love the women of Moxie.
I was also convicted through Michelle's joy. She was friendly and happy. Her laugh was awkward, but contagious. She talked to people. The Starbuck employees knew her name. She obviously wasn't concerned with what people were thinking about her. Joy and conversation filled her morning.
Many times over the three hours I worked I had moments of agitation as I was writing out something "really good and profound" only to be interrupted by Michelle. In those moments, I took a deep breath, turned to her, and engaged in the image of humanity God set before me this morning.
I'm so thankful for his sweet reminders that he loves people so deeply. I'm thankful he loves me deeply. I'm thankful he has set the task of leading Retreat de Moxie before me. I'm thankful that he allowed me to meet the beautiful, uniqued, joyful Michelle this morning. I'm thankful that through all the conversation I had with Michelle, productivity was still my friend.
Please take moments of perceived interruption and ask God what he wants to speak to your heart. It will be worth it in so many wonderful ways.