Molly has proposed we get out and take a ride on occasional days when the sun is out and the sky is blue. The other day she took me along as she did errands. She parked in the Lund’s lot at 50th Street, and said, “You go into Starbucks and get the doppio macchiato that you love, and then come back and sit in the car, while I do some shopping.”
Well, why not? It turns out Starbucks allows five people in at a time – to buy coffee, but not to sit and schmooze. So back I came to sit in the sunny side of the car.
As usual, the people caught my eye. There wasn’t enough time to really read, so here I am, writing instead. In the very, “olden days,” this was “my” Starbucks. I met people here, both by appointment and chance. It was a comfortable conversation spot – usually by the windows looking out. Sometimes, in spring and fall, sitting outside, on just the other side of the glass at a little coffee table.
Now, as I pace the sidewalk, looking into Starbucks, and Breadsmith, I note that the people passing by – some going in – seemed younger than the crowd of two or three decades ago. They look as if their minds are on something else, as though they are not really there to shop, or even to meet others. They seem on their way to somewhere, and just “looking in” as they go by.
There’s a lad with hands stuffed in his jacket pockets, going who knows where.
Not many seemed ready to sit down, stay awhile, just talk. Of course, at Starbucks there was no sitting down. Just buy your coffee and leave.
“What’s the fun in that?” I wonder. For me, that had always been the purpose, to talk. About life. And its ups and downs. Its struggles. Now, you’re not invited to “sit down and stay awhile.” People coming now for coffee aren’t allowed to sit long enough to say, “Arthur, I need to talk to you – about this cancer thing. About whether to take the chemotherapy or not. I’m not sure I could really stand it.”
One of the last people I visited there, one of my dearest friends on earth, and not on the earth anymore. She has crossed over to heaven’s side. “I just don’t think I could take any more,” she said.
My choice might well have been the same. Yet, many needed her – for whom she’d been a tower of strength. We often don’t realize how much our lives count, with others.
The big thing is to remember how much they count with God. To realize how dearly He loves us, and how fully He’ll use us – right up to the end.
So wonderful is life. So hard it is to balance when we face ultimate things. And how important is every step in life. Even those that don’t seem so important.
We can all pray, and encourage those who need to be cheered, to fight on. Until Jesus says in His own way: “Come home with Me now.”
So good was that quiet time of sitting in a sunny parking lot, and watching the world go by.
Bless you, for every day that’s ahead, in this wonderful life God has given you.
Your friend on the Way,
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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