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Monday, March 4, 2013

faith and caffiene buzzes in a starbucks drive thru

There is a very small, nearly music-box sized, drive thru Starbucks a few miles up the road from where I live.  Most of my conversations about God, faith and fellowship sprout from across the tiny bistro tables, accessorized by genuine spirit, and steaming coffee in cardboard cups. After all, it's strong coffee and good conversation that wins the world's "cutest couple" award. Even over chocolate and peanut butter.

Today, however, I’m accompanied by a letter from an old friend, Greg.  He is a soldier in his first few weeks of basic training in the United States Army.  I sit in front of the shop’s wall of windows, one hand clutching the crinkled page and the other resting around the rim of my coffee.

“Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ from bootcamp!” he writes in smudged, black ink.  In the margins of the page, he has drawn a small smiley face.  And I laugh, because my friend is probably the only person in the world who would associate smiling with the word “bootcamp.” 

I take a small sip of my Venti dark roast with a shot of hazelnut, reading the thin page that shares details of his platoon, and the men and women who are beginning to ask him about his faith. 

“I pray the Lord will give me a great testimony while I’m here,” he says. 

For a moment, my eyes wander from the letter to the line of cars beginning to form around the drive thru.  The patrons sit with their hands placed at the top of the steering wheel, their elbows holding the weight of their hunched shoulders.  Each of them - however polite - bark what they want into the speaker, and wait with an agitated expectancy.

As I watch the people zip around, I see them each as different versions of myself.  I see my own impatience grow with God and my prayers that remain seemingly unanswered as the cars keep running, stopping, starting, paying up, drinking and going about their way.  

Something about his letter makes me realize that this is how I’ve been living my spiritual life.  Resulting in a mere buzz of prayer that swims through the very shallowest bits of my blood stream.

I turn my attention back to the letter in my hand.  Greg tells me about the seventy pounds of gear he has to wear while he stands for an hour in formation.  He’s excited to begin firing practice rockets and grenade launchers.

“I have a list of things you can send, but for now I’m only asking for letters and prayers,” says Greg.

Here he is, a man learning to fight for our nation. And all he wants are prayers and letters. I have a laundry list of things that I ask, rather demand of God every day. Never have my requests ever been as simple or as selfless.

“Take care, and my our Heavenly Father bless you, my dear friend," he says at the closing of his letter.

And you too, Greg. I hope I can learn to be as selfless and encouraging as you one day.

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