Monday, May 14, 2007

My Buddy Martha

Some baristas wait a lifetime for the experience I had today; I guess I’m just lucky. One Ms. Martha Stewart came by to see me at work today. So we’re pretty much BFFs now. She and her entourage stopped in for an afternoon pick-me-up on the way to the airport after a day in Rochester.

I saw the previews for that made for TV movie about Martha a few years ago and I have to say she not anything like that. She actually was really nice, joked with me for a few minutes, and paid for her whole group (yes, I held the credit card of a woman once estimated to be worth over a billion dollars). My fellow baristas and I provided the group with the same legendary service that we would anyone at Starbucks, but we certainly weren’t falling all over ourselves to make a big deal about her. After I told her, “no, we don’t have any ice cream to pour your latte over,” one of her peons hinted that maybe I could go to the ice cream place two doors down and get some, and the others then made it a point to call her “Martha” a lot. She was fine with me not fetching her some ice cream and even gave me some suggestions about what I might do with the extra espresso. This is more or less the recipe that she suggested for me.

It was surreal to have some one so well known in front of me, engaged in friendly conversation for a good ten minutes, but I certainly didn’t wet myself or anything. I’m having a lot of fun telling people about it and I our regulars get a kick out of it.

The question everyone has asked me is “What does Martha Stewart drink at Starbucks?” Well, I’m reluctant to tell you, because honestly we probably wouldn’t do this for anyone who wasn’t Martha, so you have to promise me to not go in and start ordering it all the time. Ready??? She had us make her a tall cappuccino (one shot of espresso, half steam milk and half milk foam), and then she had us pour it over ice in a grande cold cup. (Originally she first asked for it to be poured over coffee ice cream.) I helped her refine exactly what she wanted (I didn’t want to be the one responsible for messing her drink up), and Mike made it to order so perfectly she was actually really excited and told him that it looked wonderful.

I'm not really one for autographs (except for the time in sixth grade when I went to the House of Guitars to get Poison to sign my cassette tape of their album Talk Dirty to Me), but I do wish I had her sign my green apron. That would be really cool to have. Oh well, it is a fun story about my time at Starbucks anyway. If you would like to touch the hand that touched Martha, it will cost you $1.00. Leave a comment and we'll work out the details. All proceeds will benefit the Angie iPOD Fund.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Land of In-Between

From time to time we find ourselves in times of transitions, times when we know that a significant part of our experience of life is coming to an end with a new one about to begin. We enter into the land of the in-between when the reality of the new sets in while we are still firmly planted in the present. As we wait for the yet to be we find it very difficult to be fully present to the place that we are currently in.

Jesus was the master of being fully present, yet most of his life must have felt like this strange place, the land of in-between. He was always aware of how his life would end, how much the love he had for his disciples would cost him, and amazingly he was able to live fully in each moment. To try and live our lives out into the future, to ignore the opportunities for life that God has gifted us with today, is to be poor stewards of the things entrusted to us.

I find myself in this place now. I am doing a poor job at being present to the day-to-day, specifically in my work at Starbucks. I value the time I’ve spent there this year, the people I’ve built relationships with the things that I’ve learned to do, the time has not been wasted, but I’m counting down the days. I dread going to work, making another blended coffee beverage, putting up with rude and uppity people, I long for it to be over. But I know that this is not the attitude that God wants me to face the day with. If only I could embrace the moment and look at each day as a chance to continue to be salt and light, to live in such a way that makes the day all that it was meant to be. The day is not meant to be wished away. Our experiences with others are opportunities to get and give grace, and when we can get over our whininess long enough to realize that it is not all about us we can see God at work in places we wish we didn’t have to be.

Jesus, may I have the grace to be where I am and in doing so may I realize that it is there that you are with me, because it is there that you have me to be. Amen.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

On the Edge

I’m on the cusp of something big here. I realize making the jump from barista to pastor is an obvious big step, but I have a deep sense that this is going to be good. It’s one of those rare times in life that many things come together in a way that it is obvious God is working in a number of people that all seem to be listening and moving in a common direction. Now as the paths of Angie and I and the Honeoye Falls UMC come together it is amazing to see all that Jesus has been doing in my life to fall into place in this way.

If my life where a movie the ending credits would be about to roll, with a slow but intense Coldplay song playing underneath. It is definitely the end of a chapter, but it’s the kind of ending that you know really isn’t an ending, there is more to come, and its going to be good. I almost feel silly even talking like this, since I haven’t spent a lot of time with anyone from the church, and I’ve only met a small handful. But the excitement and anticipation that I feel in the deepest parts of my soul is the stuff of celebration that only comes when you have walked through fire and come out stronger on the other side.

Will there be days that the task of pastoring a diverse group of people seem overwhelming? Sure. Might I be disheartened at times as it seems that I care about the spiritual health of individuals more than they do? Very possibly. Will there be days that I wish I would have drank a little more coffee, or stayed in bed a while longer, went for that run, anything but doing what this calling has me doing on that day? Hey, it is still a job, and I’m still human. But to finally get to be doing what it is that God has been readying me for for so many years now, that is plain awesome. What a ride.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Would God Pick Up Your Poop?

So I was out in the back yard tonight doing what seems like an every other day occurrence lately: picking up Molly’s poop (just for the record Molly is my dog, please refer to the post “ANGIE” if you thought Molly was my wife). This particular act, and the frequency there of, got me to thinking about how much I really do love my dog. This was an easily arrived at meditation because as I did the “dirty work” Molly played with her new toy. This new toy consists of a fairly heavy-duty 9’ tire (think mini-Big Foot tire) that has one of those dog chew ropes with the knots attached. Well it was easy to love her despite the poop because she had the business end of the rope in her mouth, whipping it around as hard as she could, which meant the rubber tire was beating against her head with loud thumps. Great stuff. Since I’ve paid big money for a theology degree I’ve allowed myself to be brainwashed to the point of when ever I’m thinking about love I try and relate it to God’s love. Sometimes this intellectual exercise leads to wonderfully enlightening sermon illustrations that make the old ladies giggle with glee over how much I help them understand Jesus better, and make middle school kids spit on themselves because they try to hold in the laughter, because they think it is bad to laugh in church. Other times I just think of really odd or lame illustrations that I used to just inflict on my wife, but now I can just blog about them.

So the thought progression went something like this: 1) I must really love my dog to put on gloves, get out a plastic bag, and scour my yard hunched over for poo, 2) I sure wouldn’t do this for anyone else (with a brief mental sidebar about if I do love Angie enough to pick up her poop, but I’ll save that for another blog), and 3) (here’s were the big money for the Master’s of Theology really pays off) I wonder if God loves me enough to pick up my poo. Of course initially the question was literal, but that’s a dumb question because when I was a kid I remember hanging out with this other kid in a field and he was telling me about how he had to poop in the woods once when he was camping and had to clean up his business end with leaves from a tree and the phobia I already had about not knowing what poison ivy looked like immediately linked with an aversion to camping, so I would never be pooping somewhere that needed picking up anyway. So then I started considering the question metaphorically, which also allows me to use my B.A.which is in philosophy, and I realized that God does love me enough to pick up my poop. But I think it makes him sad.

You see how often do we make messes in our relationship and then beg for God’s help in cleaning it up? And even when we don’t ask for help, when we do crappy things to other people, I think God cares more about restoration of relationships than we do and goes farther than we realize in helping to rectify the situation.

Over all that’s all I got. Not all that profound, and if I thought that any of my professors read my blog I would apologize, but if nothing else I sure got to type “poop” more than I ever have before.