A cornucopia of folks are scattered throughout the restaurant where I am people-watching from a corner booth. The diner is an American classic, reminiscent of my parents’ era with its Formica tabletops and vinyl seats. I’m half expecting Rock Around the Clock to filter from the sound system, but country music continues to play.
Out the window, interstate traffic whizzes by beyond the parking lot on this wintery day. A silvered-hair senior citizen shuffles down the sidewalk behind her walker. Her younger companion—perhaps a daughter or granddaughter—places a hand on the small of her back.
Inside the diner, a bearded fellow wearing an Irish cap leans in close to his lady friend, an ear trained on her every word. A man of sizable girth bellies up to the hostess stand. A family of three sits at a booth a couple tables away from me. The mother helps her young son draw his way through a maze on a paper placemat. Some new arrivals stop by their table to say hello.
I’m in this eatery for a few reasons. First, I didn’t eat before my doctor's appointment this morning. Second, I’ve had a hankering for a good old American breakfast of fried eggs and bacon. And finally, I wanted a different locale to work on the reading assignment for my ladies’ Bible study. Yet, here I am people-watching instead. At least I can use the excuse that I’m gathering material to write a new story.
My waitress pours me more coffee. I vowed off the stuff three days ago. However, when I noticed an unexpected charge on my receipt for a cup of Joe, I decided to ask for some anyway. I’ll start cold turkey another day.
The little old man who just sat down at the table next to mine is probably one of the regulars. I’m not sure why he took up residence in my little corner of the world. Maybe I sat in his booth.
I pause to contemplate that thought. The man is too close for comfort in a diner with many other open tables. With that said, maybe I didn’t take his usual seat after all. Maybe I need to rethink this attitude of my space being invaded.
As I gaze out the window, a middle-aged man guides the woman beside him toward the front door. I start to think I lack regular dining companions like these other patrons seem to have. With a "someone is in my space" mentality, I sense that’s the reason some of my relationships aren’t quite where the Lord intended them to be.
You know, it's amazing how caffeine affects me. My sole purpose in coming here was to eat breakfast and read my Bible study. But in a matter of nanoseconds, I went from gazing around a diner to thinking the worse about myself when it comes to old friends.
I’m not sure if some past relationships need to be rekindled. But I do know current ones founded on common Christian values can survive the test of time. I just need to turn over those past friendships to the Lord. He'll let me know if I should initiate rebuilding them or not.
The three cups of coffee I’ve had while sitting here have definitely made me jittery. My ping-ponging thoughts make me believe that I must write an article for a local city’s newspaper. A story about an orthodontist office located in the town’s old train depot. About the doctor who took over the practice years ago from his dad.
Boy! How did that thought come out of nowhere? I need someone to pop me on the back of the head. Like the way Agent Gibbs smacks Tony DiNozzo on NCIS.
This is why I need to quit drinking coffee. How can the Lord work through my writings when caffeine jumbles my thoughts? No telling if this story idea is mine or God’s when I’m under the influence.
I finally pick up the reading I came here to do. The Bible verse for the day talks about how all discipline seems painful for a time. However, peace will follow once we overcome whatever area of our life is being disciplined. (Hebrews 12:11)
A well-known speaker quoted that scripture in one of her videos I recently watched. She talked about how the Spirit in you will let you know when something isn’t good for you, even if there’s nothing wrong with it. And even if it’s okay for others to have.
Caffeine comes to mind... to my rapidly racing mind.