I recently sat down at a Starbucks table across from a friend who told me a fascinating story of redemption. God restored and saved his life. I could see it with my own eyes. He was now a completely different man than he was three and a half years ago. I thought to myself, "God is good at changing lives."
We prayed together, exchanged a man hug (you know, the hug with a couple of hard pats on the back), and then I switched tables and set up shop to get some work done. I was now strategically placed at a table that I was hoping would allow me some privacy. Shortly after I had made myself comfortable, a couple of ladies came and sat down at the table right next to me. I initially wanted to question their poor choice of a table. They were so close they could probably smell my coffee breath. Then, they began talking. And talking. And talking. These women loved to talk. Picture this with me...Two women on the edge of their seats, hanging on every word of the conversation, and maintaining perfect eye contact the whole time. I'm not sure they even blinked. They were obviously happy to be there.
A few minutes later a couple of guys sat down at a table in front of me. By now I had lost hope of getting work done. I was all-out people watching. The body language of these guys was completely different than the ladies to my left. They were leaned way back in their chairs, completely relaxed, with little to say. When they would exchange conversation the man who was talking would stare out the window while he spoke. He would occasionally glance over at the other man, who happened to be fiddling with his cup and staring out the window as well. As much as they were looking out the window I though maybe I was missing some incredible show that was taking place on the Starbucks balcony. I glanced over my shoulder to see what might possibly be so interesting outside...Nothing. All I saw was a parking lot full of cars. Despite the body language it was apparent that they were also quite happy to be there.
To my left were a couple of women who talked non-stop. In front of me were a couple of men who rarely looked at each other. Smiles were present at both tables. The conversations couldn't have been more different. The women were talking about what makes them cry, and the men were talking about restoring an old car or an old house (100% true story). As different as the two conversations were, the bottom line was that these people were intentional about the friendships in their life. You don't accidentally end up at Starbucks and find yourself engaged in a riveting conversation about your emotions, and the things that trigger them. Neither do two men stumble upon the same table and begin an enjoyable conversation about restoring old cars. You have to get on the phone and extend the invitation. You have to make time. You have to adjust your busy schedule for the things that matter most. To enjoy the harvest of rich relationships, you have to plant and water the seeds. You have to push through the fear of rejection barriers and simply go for it. You have to forgive and come back to seeing the best in people. It made me consider my own friendships and my level of intentionality towards them. It is something that I must get better at.
My train of thought was interrupted by the sound of my phone ringing. Ashley was calling to tell me that she and Avery were ready to meet me for breakfast. Now it was on to Einstein Bros. to enjoy coffee with my own family. As we enjoyed our breakfast, I couldn't help but notice the lady sitting at the table next to ours was listening to our conversation. I had to smile. I wouldn't be surprised to see her post a blog about us...Perhaps it would be about how Ashley and I failed to carry on a sustained conversation. We were too busy chasing our two year old around the restaurant.