The realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own...
populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries, and inherited craziness...
an epic story that continues invisibly around you...
like an anthill sprawling deep underground...
with elaborate passageways...
to thousands of other lives...
that you never knew existed...
and which you might appear in only once...
as an extra...
sipping coffee in the background...
as a blur of traffic...
passing on the highway...
as a lighted window...
I am not alone.
Everyone has a story. Complexities. Thoughts. Fears. Hopes. Dreams.
In three weeks, I have seen the faces of tens of thousands of people.
And each and every one of them has a story to tell.
And I, for just a moment, become a part of their stories the moment they walk through the doors of my store and see me in a passing glance.
That quick nod as we make eye contact.
That fleeting hello.
The almost unnoticed brush of our hands as I take their money or hand them a cup of coffee.
And I'm gone.
Sometimes, I become a larger imprint in the pattern of their life.
Discovering we're from the same town.
A mutual interest.
A joke we both found funny.
One being familiar with the other's hometown or university.
That family I must have spent ten minutes with as we laughed and chatted together as they debated over what kinds of fudge they wanted. For ten minutes, I was part of their lives. As they walked away, I wondered for a fleeting moment if they would remember today. Remember that girl who sold them the fudge and jokingly commented on how she now saw what she was desiring to get herself into when she said she wanted all boys in her future family. I wondered if they would enjoy the fudge. How long it would last. What kinds of conversations they would have over the fudge.
And I sondered.
I have many regulars at the coffee shop.
Locals or temporary locals here for the summer just like me.
I greet them with familiarity.
And for a moment, I become a player in their story.
Asking after familiar things.
Remembering usual orders.
Talking about the day.
And then I drift back again.
Behind the scenes.
As another silent player on the stage of life.
As I watch people stream in and out of the doors of my store, I am constantly struck by the individuality of each of them. No one has lived exactly the same life as anyone else. I can't look at anyone anymore without dreaming up a world for them. Family, friends, hopes, dreams, successes, failures, hurts, heartaches, joys, and sorrows.
I see a story behind every glance.
Every day, I go into work
And it's changing me.
The way I think.
The way I treat people.
What I think of that obnoxious tourist that would just not get a grip on life!!! Because for all I know this is not how they normally act and this could, in fact, be the worst day of their life.
It changes what I feel talking with my regulars.
The fact the I get a peek into their lives almost daily is both an honor and a heart-stopper.
It gives me an urgency like I've never felt before.
The realization that they are souls that God loves and that Christ died for.
When Jesus was on the cross, He saw their faces. Their lives flashed before His eyes. And I was in them. The Christian barista who saw them nearly every day of their summer.
Am I making a difference?
As a follower of Christ, it is my duty to reach out to others and share His incredible gift of forgiveness of sins. To point them to the Savior that can keep them from an eternity of suffering and separation.
How much do I have to hate someone to not share this with them?
Every night, I am humbled and struck by how easily a day can slip by without me verbally testifying of my Savior. I pray that my actions represent Him well.
Actions do speak louder than words.
But actions alone are not enough!
The reason I am a child of God is because someone reached out to me and shared with me their Jesus.
They fought the fear.
They became brave.
And shared Christ.
At the end of the school year, I made a commitment.
I committed to sharing my Jesus this summer.
To be brave.
And that is what I must do.
Jesus saved me from an eternity of separation and suffering.
And what if I am the only person some of these people ever meet that knows of my Jesus? That knows how to have a relationship with Him and spend an eternity with Him in a place of incomprehensible beauty, joy, and love?
What am I waiting for?
I only have a short strand of time to leave an imprint on their story.
Learning to sonder has taught me that.
We all only have a speck of time to make an impact.
Life is short.
And remember to share Christ.
Because you never know what will happen next in someone's story. And this may be their last chance to know the One Who wants to save them.
"You are my witnesses," declares the Lord,
"And my servant whom I have chosen,
So that you may know and believe Me
And understand that I am He.
Before me there was no other God formed,
And there will be none after Me."
"I, even I, am the Lord,
And there is no savior beside Me.
It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed,
And there was no strange god among you;
So you are my witnesses," declares the Lord,
"And I am God."