In Ashley’s Harvest Moon Café on a Wednesday morn, it happens to be St. Patrick’s Day, 2021. Drip coffee, refillable for free, and a coconut chocolate chip muffin warmed just right, starts my time of labor here instead of at home. I don’t thrive being alone.
I observe. People watching, one of my favorite pastimes, has drastically been denied. A plethora of people right before my eyes!
There’s a man with a cap that speaks of a sailor past; his silver crown hides his story. In the soft chair he reads for a few hours and leaves. I’ve not seen a soul speak with him.
I love to hear people’s stories; but I’m on assignment to plow through editing this book I’ve been writing. I long to listen to each person’s tale, be it a whimper or a wail.
I too have silver hair and notice this one room hosts all the people groups I’d like to reach. God’s always listening to our conversations. My ears aren’t trying to eaves drop but I am here, hosting the Holy Spirit.
Across from me are two young women who have been conversing, one of the topics being college and another praise and worship. I wonder if they know the way into the Holy of Holies, or the way up to Mount Zion. Are they in a church with progressive Christianity, another deception of the enemy? Or are they planted on Solid Ground, on the Rock on which I stand?
Two tables have moms and tots. Babies look for faces; I wave to one. They haven’t yet learned that everyone is a stranger and thus a danger; or so that’s the lie we’ve been programmed to believe. Pogrom, I mean, indeed!
Earlier I heard “Mom” perpetually repeated until a response quelled the call. A respite of fellowship so desperately needed by all. They converse over breakfast. Do these women know how to be Biblical helpmeets to their husbands? To disciple their young in the ways of the Lord?
The shop itself holds a sweet spot in my heart, for Ashley was one of my sixth-grade students long ago. Her mom, once a coworker, now serves here, stopped by for a quick chat.
Another woman was here earlier. A faint recognition in my mind of her serving me somewhere. I said “Hi.” She responded in kind. So foreign these days, reaching across the masked boundaries to attempt to be human and kind. She sat with her phone and later dined alone.
Ashley’s focus is the people; she serves with care and kindness. Earlier she conversed with a couple, art, the topic of discussion. The man didn’t say much but men never do. They hold such wisdom, but the white-male bashing in this culture, unfortunately they’ve gotten used to. They hold their tongue now; for how long will that stand? The woman seemed to be the glow he hovered about, with a familiarity of acceptance and deep love. She carried her book-marked novel when they went out.
Another table now has what looks like a business meeting, woman-to-woman, with two young sisters observing as they dined on delicacies. We’ve gotten to such a place of fluidity in business and life. Yet the invisible boundaries still block true community, instead strife.
I want to reach each of these people groups. In my muzzled frustration, I pray. I pray for each one, each group, each representative of the world. That’s what I do, I pray. I intercede. Often exhausted, lonely, and weary; I cling to the cross and the One who hung there obediently. He’s always interceding for you and me.
I rest in His Father’s lap and weep with Him for His LOVE is so vast. He wants relationship with us! Holiness, His standard. I pray it’s not too late.
REPENT!! He's cried through me, as I’ve hugged the globe in prayer. His tears role down my face. He catches each one. He must have an ocean up there.
How long, oh Lord? Are we beyond repair?! Has Grace’s door shut? I feel the world's despair! Or is that another lie shot across my bow. It’s too late for them. “TOO LATE,” said the toothless, old man (another story for another time) with a face so grim.
The wise older ones, even if they think their life’s been foolishly spent, wisdom lives in these lives. They can still share the stories of pitfalls to avoid and paths to pursue. Please don’t die without sharing your testimony for your progeny, and us too.
I now wear a shield instead of a mask. I need my smile to shine through. The muzzle I perpetually, invisibly wore, constricting my voice, last year, God supernaturally unfurled.
I’ve written much more, heavy, deep thoughts, or maybe their high, from above. Jesus will hold them for now; for their burden is great. He’ll let me know how and when to emanate.
Ashley’s place is great, friendly and calm. Enjoying people again, soothed me like a balm. A slice of humanity, served with a smile, covered with a mask, yet seen with faith-filled eyes. Hope remains.