Posted tagged ‘comfort zone’

When Someone Invades Your (Starbucks) Space

October 6, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                            October 6, 2018

                        

It’s a dilemma that is rapidly becoming a problem! Someone has been sitting on my stool at Starbucks, the last stool on the right at the counter that looks out towards Pike’s Peak!

It’s where I almost exclusively write my blog post! It’s my space to create, my stool to be cool!

What should I do? The man who has been sitting there doesn’t understand the history. It’s like the three bears coming home and finding Goldilocks eating their porridge!

I’ve thought about yellow caution tape wrapped around the seat, but, of course, the Starbucks corporation would probably frown on that idea. I wouldn’t want it to become another national news story about putting someone in his place…that is, anywhere that is not my space!

I mentioned it to one of the baristas who knows of the guy’s error in java judgment. She knows that stool is where I sit and gives me a look of disbelief and sympathy each morning it happens. 

“Can you tell him to move?”

She looks at me with concern and compassion and says, “No.”

“Well, what time did he get here this morning?”

“I don’t know,” she responds. “He was here before I got here!”

Perhaps that’s what I’ll have to do…arrive earlier, be standing at the door as Starbucks opens at 4 A.M. Then I could take note of when the trespasser arrives and snicker! Of course, I’d have to go to bed about 8:00 the night before and Carol would be asking what in the world is going on with me?

“I’ve got to get to Starbucks when it opens. There’s a guy who’s been sitting on my stool!”

Carol will look at me like a DMV license renewal clerk. “What is this, Bill? Some kind of coffee version of Black Friday? Are you going to rearrange your whole life around the need to sit on a certain stool at Starbucks?”

“Yes!”

“Just find a different stool!”

I gasp at the idea. “That’s like me telling you to find a different husband!”

“No, it’s not even close, but if you go looney over a coffee shop stool it might be a possibility! Doesn’t this sound a little bit like when one of the grandkids is playing with a toy that one of the other grandkids wants to play with? All the one without can think about is that one toy, even though she’s surrounded by a roomful of other toys.”

“No, doesn’t sound like that at all.”

So I guess I need other options! Perhaps I could carve my name into the wood on the counter with the words “Space Reserved For” etched in before it. 

Here’s the thing! I’m substitute teaching 3 to 4 days a week, so I’ve become inconsistent in my occupying of my spot. I’ve just come to expect that it will be there when I’m there, like a college student returning home on break and expecting his old room to still be the same, and to be his!

Next week, however, I’m teaching Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wednesday is the only day, except for the weekend, where I can get to my stool. HE will probably be there, and I’ll sense the creative juices draining some my existence.

We humans are creatures of habit, some good habits and some bad…and some just plain weird!

Painting Fingernails

March 1, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                        March 1, 2013

There are sometimes things that a person does just because! Like taking your daughter to a Justin Bieber concert and realizing that the average age of the 20,000 attenders…not including yourself…is 13…rounded off to the nearest year! Why would a parent do such a thing? The answer: Just because!

Last week my girls’ basketball team had a team dinner. Great food, great time together…and then the fingernail polish came out! The twelve girls were painting their fingernails five different colors in preparation for the last game of the season the next day. (When my son’s soccer team was preparing for the state play-offs each of the players dyed their hair blonde!).

You may have already figured out what comes next in the story.

Coach, it’s your turn!”

What?”

It’s time to get your fingernails painted!”

I wouldn’t call it peer pressure that have me cave in. It was more like allowing them to paint my nails…just because! My wife had her cell phone out taking pictures like it was a Cover Girl photo op!

Blue…red…silver…orange…and black…on each hand! I left the team dinner decorated! The next day I spent a good deal of the time with my hands in my pockets or with gloves on. I discovered where the nail polish remover is located at Walgreen’s for use immediately after the game.

What I discovered is that painted fingernails is outside my comfort zone. I was completely aware of my counter-cultural masculine look anytime I was in public. Actually I was aware of it most of the rest of time as well, because my hands are usually palms down in front of me instead of palms up. When one of those nails on each hand is painted with a glittery silver it’s distracting.

Everyone of us has things that are outside our comfort zone. Sometimes we allow ourselves to enter the uncomfortableness “just because.” Sometimes we realize that what we are about is more important that our uneasiness.

I had the sense that everyone was looking at me in those few hours when I was  polished. It felt like I had just accidentally burped in the midst of a high-priced restaurant. The blush radiated!

What the experience also gain me was a sense of how someone new feels coming into a church situation. Like a 58 year old man with painted fingernails, there is an intimidation factor. It used to be that churches would recognize first-time visitors by having them stand or raising their hands to receive a special gift. Some would not agree with me on this one, but I think someone visiting a church for the first time feels uncomfortable enough as it is. “Churched people” may have lower anxiety levels, but unchurched people aren’t sure what they are getting themselves into in just being there at all. They may be there “just because.” Like a parent at a Justin Bieber concert, it may very well be a one-and-done experience. What would prompt an unchurched person to want to come back again? Probably about three things! One would be an encounter with the “mystery of the holy.” That they would experience something that they can’t quite describe, but know that something has been stirred within them.

Two would be that the person senses in some way that what happens in worship has relevance for life. It isn’t a “how to” seminar, but rather a look at life through a different lens or from a different perspective.

And three would be that the person would have a sense that the people of the faith gathering are fellow life journeyers, who haven’t arrived, but are still on the journey. The church would convey words like “help”, “compassion”, “inviting”, “grace”, “hope”, and “affirmation”, not “judgment”, “arrogance”, “apathy”, and “frosty.” The reason I was willing to have my fingernails glitter is that twelve other girls had already done it. Even though it was uncomfortable think how uncomfortable…and weird…it would have been if they would have done my nails, but not done their own. Sometimes the church has a critical eye about those who are uncomfortably seeking. In a culture where many people desire to stand out there is still an uncomfortableness about standing out in new situations.

I’ve used the nail polish remover, but the interesting thing is that there is still some residue…okay, maybe a better term is evidence…of the polish. One of my thumbnails that are painted orange looks like I had an orange slushie that leaked. But as I look at it, weird as it seems, I have good memories of that evening…just because.