He walks in bundled in a stylish coat. His trendy long hair is pulled back messily. He comes in here a lot and always orders the same thing: large shot in the dark with a splash of almond milk. Right behind him comes an interracial couple, always holding hands and calling the other exclusively by “bae;” they’re here for a dozen cookies. In the corner is a single dad with his 6-year-old son. He got a small house brew and a gelato for the kid. His son seems happy, while the man aches of stress. His pre-mature balding head proclaims his messy divorce and mediocre job to keep his kid in that itchy private school uniform, that now has chocolate gelato on it. The window glows of sunlight and the joy of the teenaged girls sitting in the sill booth. Their faces lit with youth and a mutual adoration with that song, “Closer.” All of these people with a different story, a different background, and a different destination. Yet, I can’t help to notice, as a I serve them their coffee and pastries, that they all keep the same rhythm with their hearts and breathe the same air.
|Photo by Jinny Khantisouriya|
Hozier has a song called “Someone New,” from his self entitled album. The song claims that he falls in love a little bit with someone new everyday. When I listened to the song at first, it came out in 2014, so it its been a while, I related to it simply from being a people-watcher. Though extroverted, I get very introspective when it comes to strangers, or meeting people in general. But when I began working as a barista at a charming coffee shop, the meaning of the song really clicked with me. I find myself getting much too emotionally attached to costumers, not romantically, but in compassion. The Christmas phrase “good will towards men,” yeah, that.
The other night, the cafe was chilly, but my hands were being slowly warmed as I steamed milk for a frothy cappuccino, the metal cup heating up with every swirl of cream. Noise from several hushed conversations floated like smoke, I couldn’t listen to just anyone. The only clear noise was the hiss from the espresso machine and the acoustic Christmas music about weather that never exists in Alabama. I glanced up from my task to read all of the faces in the shop. The demographic in the neighborhood this coffeehouse sits in is so diverse. There’s evangelical elderly folk; young, openminded partners, as they would call themselves; those that are both upper middle-aged and upper middle-class; and a lot of college students who choose our coffee over Starbucks because our beans have “more personality” and they like to stick it to the man with their support of locals. As I read lives like words on a page, I realized I had probably scorched the milk I was steaming. Only slightly alarmed and not a bit surprised, I still chuckled at the coffee-drinkers. I loved each one of them, even the ones who order decaf.
It’s interesting to me, in addition to being sad, how little I consider loving humankind. Sure, humanity seems hopeless most of the time. People make ridiculous decisions from breaking hearts to killing innocent people: sin sucks. But our God looks at us with love. Instead of offering us warm beverages and baked goods, He offers everlasting life. That was very cheesy, sorry, reader. This past semester, I wrote a paper about facets of Jesus’s identity according to Hebrews 1. While working on this paper, I found myself crying in awe of Christ. I had become so in love with the facets of his personality and very being that I was studying. One aspect that specifically blew me away was that He is life. Sure, I had heard this taught my whole childhood in church, and certainly in the pursuit of my Bible degree, but I don’t think it ever hit me until just recently. Therefore, Christ being life, and us being made in the image of God, as I watch the different people and their stories walk in and out of the cafe, as I fall in love with every breath and heartbeat among the hustle and bustle around me, I fall deeper in love with Life, Himself: Jesus Christ.
To the young guy with the coat and the man bun, to the beautiful mixed couple, the man and his son covered in gelato, and to the giggly teenaged girls: you are loved. Not just by me, the clumsy barista, but by the one true God. It is because of Him that you live, and it is for Him that we should choose to live. As I fall in love, a little, oh, a little bit, everyday with someone new, know that everyday, the Sovereign Lord of all is loving us more than humans can imagine, calling us deeper and deeper into His mercy.