I got really sad for the world tonight while at work. For kind of no apparent reason. A little old woman came in for her "medium french vanilla cappuccino." She's a regular. She has dentures and her speech pattern reminds me of the former associate pastor at my parent's/my childhood church. And I started thinking about all her stories that she has to tell. I wanted to ask her why she comes to Starbucks every day for a french vanilla cappuccino. It's not really something you HAVE to have to live. Really, coffee itself is something you can live without in general (although many of my morning customers will deny that). I wanted to ask her about her life. If she had ever been married. Where her husband was. If she had any children. What she had done in her life. I wanted her to know that her life mattered and had made an impact. Of course, I didn't do any of those. I asked Alicia to make her cappuccino instead, while I got her pumpkin cream cheese muffin to go. Then I went to the back and started doing some dishes while thinking about all of this. I got sad about the world and what the world thinks matters. About the vigor with which people pursue meaningless objects ... pleasure, what-have-you. I tried to love that woman a little bit, but she also annoyed me a little bit, and I ended up pitying her ... that may be what annoyed me. I am not very good at balancing pity and love. I don't know how to do that. It's something I was hoping to learn this summer, but I'm starting to think it will be a lesson my whole life.
I was thinking the other night, also, about the pursuit of pleasure and how it would make complete sense if you didn't believe in and know Christ. It's the most sensible thing in the world, really. (That's all on that for now.) But it still makes me sad that so many people live without leaving a mark on people's lives. I suppose everyone does leave some sort of mark ... they just don't know it, or aren't proud of it, etc. etc.
I had a customer ask me tonight "what is the meaning of life?" I asked if he wanted the legal answer or the one I actually believe. He asked for the real answer. I gave him the westminster catechism. "To glorify God and enjoy Him forever." He chewed on that a little while, while his daughter gave me her drink order. His daughter, incidentally, always reminds me of Mrs. Duckrow, a teacher and friend of my parent's in Guam. I was friends with her daughter, Sandy, if I remember correctly. Anyway. Then he asked me for the legal answer and I said "Growth." He decided I must be a college student. I said I had just finished my masters. He said "that makes sense."
Iron & Wine
And though our fathers' fathers slept in stolen houses
All that's over now
And our babies never cry
And we can look you in the eye
And say, "we're not afraid to die"
And yes, our mothers' mothers saw in black and white
But all that's over now
And our children never lie
And no matter how hard we try
We are not afraid to die