What Starbucks Taught Me About Community
I sit at Starbucks 5 – 6 days a week. It is a place where I work on my sermons, pray, read my bible and do my devotions. It is my office and the rent is really cheap. I pay $3.37 everyday for a safe place and as many coffee refills as I want.
I love Starbucks. I have always had a special relationship with Starbucks. It makes me understand why people go to bars. You develop a relationship with the people that work behind the counter. You know them and they know you. I made great friends at Starbucks. Friends that bring me great joy just to see them. When I hear about good things that are happening in their lives,, that makes me smile. I cry with their losses and cheer their successes.
My current “office” Starbucks is on Speedway Blvd in Concord. It is a place full of people from all walks of life. I meet a retired couple every morning around 9:30am. They go to the mall and walk first and then come to Starbucks. We look out for each other. We save seats and always smile. I know their names but they don’t know mine. I think we have been talking for so long that they are embarrassed to ask. I watch as they come in and order, The always get coffee and some sort of sweet pastry/bread/cake. They wait patiently for their drink and pastry. They have two 1 dollar bills in their hand. They say thank you to whomever made their drink and give them the tip directly. They are from Wisconsin and talk funny but I love their smile. They are also great sports fans. They wear the gear of their favorite team at the appropriate time. When the Packers played the Panthers, they drew straws to see who got to wear yellow and green. The loser wore Panthers colors. You get the picture, they pay attention and I admire them for that.
Then there are the folks that work here. I can tell the ones that like each other and the ones that won’t be here long. Most of them are truly kind. They know my name and I know theirs. Several of them have shared stories of their lives with me. It is a gift to know someone.
My point is this, it is good to have community. I find it particularly fun to have unexpected community. I never expected community at Starbucks and yet I found it. I found community because I came and then came back. I was there to get coffee but in the end, I found friends. Folks who may or may not remember me but I remember them. There is something about being present that allows community. You can’t find it without being there. It is impossible to be a part of a community that you don’t’t invest yourself in being present.
I wonder why some don’t feel part of the community at church. I think it is because they are not invested in coming. Come for the constant good of the presence of God. Come like I do, for coffee but be open for something else. Listen to the stories of the people around you. Find out who they are. Look them in the eyes. You may find that God gives you community that allows you to think about others instead of yourself. Smile when you see them. Give hugs like they were family. Reach out,,, Community is not often instant and it is never purchased, community is a God given gift of relationship.
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
Hebrews 10:24-25 NLT