I feel so cool right now. I’m sitting at a long wooden table at Starbucks. The room is filled with the sound waves of jazz music flowing from the corner speaker just directly above me.. Seating is limited so I joined a table of classy cats instead of leaving and braving the cold again. It was one of the last seats and I was lucky to get it. Sitting directly across from me is a guy in his 20’s with thick curly black hair and scarf. It’s sort of a Freddie Mercury look. His HP laptop with want-to-be apple sticker towers over my slim tablet. I’ve snapped and unsnapped the magnetic keyboard several times now just loud enough so everyone knows that I have the most versatile computing device at the table. I’m drinking an Americano which I’m not even sure what the difference is between it and regular coffee but I felt much cooler ordering ‘Americano’ instead of just ‘Coffee’.
This is a good start to the day.
Hang on, Freddie just picked up the phone. Nope, doesn’t sound anything like Freddie and his voice makes him sound much younger than I thought. He’s hanging out with several friends today. He’s got big plans. Big. Yes, I am being nosy but the truth is I love people watching and the fact that I have the ability to relax right now and participate in such a intrusive hobby means I am having a very good day.
Good days are always easy to blog about. Then there are days that are so horrific, so awful that you just have to blog about. As I have said before, blogging is my way of making sense of things. Wrestling with various events and conversation after I’ve gained some distance from them helps me to process and grow, spiritually, mentally and that sounds just cool enough that even Freddie wouldn’t disagree. He’s off the phone now.
My day yesterday started out very similar today. I was in a competitor of Starbuck’s but I wasn’t sipping coffee. No, I had forgotten my wallet. I left it home sitting on my dresser right next to my brain that day. My good friends will know this isn’t the first time I have forgotten my wallet and it certainly won’t be the last. When I went out to my car to search for my wallet there I came upon more bad news. Peering through the drivers side window as I reached into my empty pocket, I saw a vision. There were my keys comfortably resting on the drivers seat where they were safely locked inside.
I picked the wrong day to do this. I waited nearly 45 minutes listening to the intermittent sounds of a piano before I was able to speak to a AAA agent. It was all arranged, the AAA calvary would arrive soon by 7:10pm. It was only a five hour wait. The roads here in Michigan have been like driving on tracks of ice since a snow storm we had last weekend. Unfortunately, the balmy -15 tempetures were not enough to melt the frozen tundra. Needless to say, I was not the only one with traveling difficulties and since I was not stranded on the freeway but safe and sound in a parking lot I was a fairly low priority.
Figuring I could walk home in five hours, I did. Just kidding. I called a second source, my friends at the Oakland County Sherriff’s. They said they would send someone out ‘right away’ and so I found myself sitting in the coffee shop waiting to see who would arrive first. I watched the time tick by as it inched closer and closer to a staff meeting that I would end up missing but hey I was in a coffee shop. I was warm, safe and thankful for those things. Besides that, I could enjoy a hot cup of…. oh wait, I forgot my wallet.
During my second hour of waiting, one of the baristas started sweeping the floor. She came near me and uttered a familiar phrase “See a penny pick it up and all the day you’ll have good luck.” I looked down to see a shiny copper Lincoln staring back at me, thought about the silliness of such an idea but picked it up thinking it wasn’t the time or place to get into a theological debate with a barista about luck. After briefly and humbly explaining the situation to her she took mercy on me and prepared me a free cup of their finest brew. This would have been a blessing but I only drink decaf because of the negative effects caffeine has on me. So I sat and held the 12 ounce teasing hand warmer and I continued to wait out the race of the century.
AAA showed up first! They beat the police. Who would’ve thought. Little did I know, I would have a visit from the Sherriff’s Department later that day. Back on the treacherous roads again, I approached an intersection where the light was turning yellow. I had a choice to make. I lightly tapped the brakes and started to slide. At that point I decided it would be best for me to continue through the light even if I missed it by a second or two than to stop and slide. I made it safely through and felt like I had made the right decision. That was, until the red and blue lights started flashing in my rearview mirror. After explaining exactly what I just told you, I was still issued a citation and was unable to produce identification because as you’ll remember… I forgot my wallet.
It was a rough day and I was done. I went straight home and to bed without passing go. Earlier this morning, a friend of mine texted me who has had a similar week. Delving more into the conversation it turns out we both had one thing in common. This week in particular we had been praying for a deeper relationship with Christ. We had been praying to be all-in. We had been praying to be tested, a dangerous prayer indeed.
James 1:2-3 We all know the verse. ‘Consider it pure joy my brothers when you encounter various trials of many kinds because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance.’
Was I happy during the course of these events? Hardly. But we have to remember, joy and happiness are not the same thing. I don’t see it yet because I’m right smack dab in the middle of this process where God is changing my heart to reflect His. But one day when I am able to step back from the picture and take in the panoramic perspective, I know that I will experience great joy. Obviously I am not telling anyone to leave their wallets at home, lock their keys in their cars or run red lights so they can experience more of the mercy and compassion of Christ. We’ll do enough of that on our own.
What I am telling you is to be constantly aware of Christ in your life. He never left me in those moments and even with my troubles he is teaching me to be able to say like Paul, “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cory 12:9-10)
I don’t believe in luck.
Indeed, there is no such thing as good luck, just glimpses of God. There is no such thing as bad luck either, just the trial and perfection of your faith.