Last weekend, I was sitting in one of my favorite coffee shops in the Tampa Bay area, trying to kill some time before the next thing I was running off to do. I was trying to get lost in my own world, as I began to journal. I found the quiet chatter of the strangers around me to turn into white noise. I was just one more person who ended up at this coffee shop on a Sunday morning. But next to me sat two men in their mid forties, who had just finished a 20 mile bike ride. Behind me was a mom, a dad and their young son, who was thrilled to order chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. In the corner, a grandmother was teaching her granddaughter to play "Go Fish", and the little girl's parents were laughing loudly as their animated daughter couldn't quite understand the game.
A voice caught my attention over the chatter. I figured he was the owner of the shop, as he approached each table to greet the guest around me. "You again", he jokingly said to the cyclists. He asked them about their bike ride this morning and it was clear that he knew the two men. Then he approached the little boy, who was now eating his pancakes. He marched up and said softly, "Hi Henry". Then he proceeded to ask the parents how their move was going. This same banter continued with the family playing cards, as well.
I was inspired by this man. We can go through life giving waves and nodding our heads, or we can take a few minutes to really bless someone. This man clearly had taken the time over and over again, and his guests were delighted to see him and speak to him.
It doesn't always have to be a ten minute conversation about someone's past and their hopes for the future. It can be one or two questions and genuine interest in someone's answers. We are making factual deposits that, over time, become "knowing someone". I guess that's why they call it, "getting to know you". We live such busy lives and use busyness as an excuse to keep us from investing in others. I am positive that man was busy. The shop was far from empty. He was clearly putting people first. I want to be like that.
I want to put aside my own schedule for a minute of two to give someone my undivided attention. People need someone to listen to them. I am challenged to not let a busy scheduled become a rushed life. I know that no matter how many things I have to do in a day, there is always time to bless someone with conversation or a listening ear. So thank you to the owner of that coffee shop in Safety Harbor for reminding me that people matter more.