Her name is Angel. She works the night shift at a certain coffee shop in town. The patrons stand, zombie-like, in line, one behind the other, in the early morning, pre-coffee stupor.
And as they stand there, for lack of intellectual stimulation, they complain about the amount of time that it is taking for them to be served. Of course time wouldn’t be an issue if they hadn’t pressed the envelope and stayed in bed as long as they did.
They will arrive, . . . wherever it is that they don’t want to be going, just in time, coffee in hand, and will begin the process of waking up and engaging with a new day at the expense of their employers.
Okay . . . it’s my turn. “I’d like to have an extra large tea with milk.”
I don’t have to tell Angel that . . . she already knows.
She doesn’t know my name but she knows what I am looking for. I know her name by the tag that she wears. I also know that she loves her two sons and cherishes the weekends when she doesn’t have to work for a deceased hockey player. Her sons are her treasure. I am not sure if she is married or living with someone but I am learning more about her every time I stand in that line.
I don’t care if she shares my beliefs, opinions, convictions. I want to see her go to heaven but I get nervous about inviting her to church.
I’ve done that before with people.
And then they meet the few perfect people who have snuck in. They want to “fix” people like Angel instead of just hearing her story, discovering her struggle and maybe . . . loving her like Jesus might. And when people like Angel meet those people, they run away.
I don’t blame them. I’ve seen it happen . . . way too much.
“How are you feeling this morning Angel?”, I ask.
I can see it beyond the faint, shy smile. I give her $1.73, exact change, and say “Thanks!” as she passes me my X-large tea, just like yesterday.
I don’t have to say “thanks” – it’s a simple, contractual exchange. I paid . . . she gets paid.
But I am thankful. Thankful for people like Angel who do what they have to do to care for people that they love. Thankful for people who know how to live an everyday life without fanfare or grandeur. Angel reminds me that God sees all that and is more likely pleased with simplicity than he is with the way that we try to dress up our lives in my religious world.
Will she find Jesus? I hope so . . . maybe I’ll have the privilege to help in the process. I don’t think she knows that I am a preacher. I might not tell her . . . it’s not important. I know this . . . God won’t have to yell to get her attention. There’s not a lot of “stuff” to distract her. The world is full of people like Angel. I’m praying that God will help me to not get so busy with the church crowd that I don’t have the time to know more than name tags. Thanks Lord . . . be with your Angel today.