I should probably start with I don’t participate in the highly-coveted drive-thru services available at many of our favorite coffee shops and restaurants. The reason behind that decision aside, I truly believe when looking to treat yourself to that delicious caffeinated beverage, the experience truly lies within the journey of going in, engaging in genuine, human interaction, and then going on with your day. Not convinced? Allow me to share my story.
We live in a world where we really don’t have to communicate with people if we choose not to. Email, Snapchat, online order/delivery, you name it! You basically have the world at your fingertips just by communicating with a machine. Now, yes, there certainly are perks to this. I love being able to mobile deposit paper checks to my bank account on a Sunday morning in about 3 minutes flat instead of waiting until Monday to deposit the check at the bank’s branch. However, I can’t help but feel we have to work extra hard if we want to form strong bonds with our fellow human beings in the simple day-to-day errands.
I’d like to highlight one moment I had this past Friday. It was about 2:00 in the afternoon when I really wanted a cup of coffee. I decided to take a stroll to my favorite local coffee shop that I hadn’t been to since the summer…before I left for Disney. It had been almost 6 months since I had seen my favorite barista (for the sake of privacy, I’ll call her Ophelia). She’s the cutest older woman and really takes her time when crafting your beverage. So if you’re in a hurry for work and need your caffeine fix before you interact with anyone, this is not your place.
Prior to this day, she could recognize me by face, but we’ve only ever exchanged stories, not names (although she wears a name tag, so I had the advantage in this case). As soon as I walked in, her face lit up. “YOU’RE BACK!” she exclaimed. “Your parents must be so happy to have you home.” And just like that, I stood there talking with her for 17 minutes.
After catching up on all the details, she looks at me and says, “Hun, I need to know… what is your name?” Not only did she address me by name several times throughout the conversation, she opened up to me about her late husband and how her love for him is still so strong. She told me about her 4 kids and about her upcoming Valentine’s Day tradition that she’s been doing with her kids and their spouses for YEARS. If that weren’t enough to get the water-works warmed up, she even told me about her favorite hymn to sing in church: Open my eyes, Lord. Help me to see Your face. Open my eyes, Lord. Help me to see. (And yes, Ophelia did in fact sing this to me in the most beautiful fashion).
At this point, I had almost forgotten about the beverage. She looks at me and she knew exactly what I had wanted. “Room for cream?” she asked. Oh yes, we all know I like a little coffee with my cream, but that day, there was room for so much more. Imagine if we all took the time to slow down and form a special bond with someone we wouldn’t have otherwise thought twice about. If we all found an Ophelia, I think the world would be filled with much more love. So this year, don’t become consumed in what you don’t have this Valentine’s Day. Remind your friends and family of how much you adore them, and when you go out on your usual errands, leave room for love.