The day after the forgotten homework incident, I headed to my favorite coffee shop in town to get some serious work done. I had an interview for an article to conduct and a lot of writing to catch up on after two weeks of vacation.
After my interviewee left the coffee shop, I refilled my giant mug of coffee and settled in at a smaller table near the front of the shop. The place was packed, and I debated going home. I figured the crowd would thin soon, so I stayed.
I propped open my laptop, took a deep breath, and began doing what I love – shaping words and sentences into paragraphs.
Two paragraphs in, out of the corner of my eye, I saw pint-size fingers reach up to my table. Before I could even turn my head to see the cute little face behind the hands, coffee soaked my jeans from waist to ankle and filled my computer.
I jumped up, yanked the computer off the table and turned it upside down. A waterfall of coffee streamed out of the keyboard. I stood there dripping and in shock.
The mother of the toddler on the loose rushed to me, apologized, and vowed to pay for the damage. The shop owner, another barista, and other customers surrounded me with mops and wads of paper towels and consoling words. I can’t even remember what I said, if anything. One second I was writing about God’s great provisions; the next second I was standing in a puddle of coffee with a computer that surely was ruined,
My hands shook with adrenaline as I set the computer down on a clean table and exchanged phone numbers with the toddler’s mother. I don’t remember a thing that I said, but I was keenly aware that all eyes had been on me during the exchange. When life squeezes you like this, there’s no pretending. Whatever is inside of you comes out. I hoped that I had shown mercy and grace.
I picked up my things and managed to hold my emotions together until I got in the car and called Kedron. I sobbed all the way home.
“It will be ok, we will work things out. Take it home, set it in the sun and turn it upside down. I’ll look at it tonight,” Kedron tried to reassure me.
“Ok…I’m…*sob*….I’m so sorry….*sob*….I know better than to have an open cup of coffee….*sob*…next to my computer,” I wailed.
“Hey, accidents happen. It’s no one’s fault. Don’t beat yourself up,” Kedron said. He’s such a keeper.
I set my computer upside down in a streak of sunshine on the bedroom floor. I didn’t even bother to get a towel as coffee continued to drip on the carpet. I deserved stained carpet. That was the least of my woes.
I sat in the remaining sunshine, cross-legged, elbows propped on my knees, and started a good old-fashioned cry fest. As the tears mixed with the coffee on my jeans, I thought of all the things I had done wrong that morning.
I should’ve left after my interview and gone home.
I shouldn’t have refilled my coffee.
I should’ve asked the barista to put it in a cup with a lid.
I deserve to have my computer ruined.
As my thoughts grew darker and the storm in my soul increased, a shard of lightning sliced through the darkness. I realized I was sitting in the exact same position that Little Miss had been the day before when I brought her forgotten homework folder to school. Except, she hadn’t been sobbing.
I heard a small whisper in my soul, “Are you listening now?”
“Yeah, I’m listening God.”
And I remembered. I remembered how just yesterday my heart had overflowed with love for Little Miss while she sat in the middle of a mess she didn’t mean to make. Now, here I was, sitting in a puddle of my own unintentional mess. I remembered how I didn’t want her to dwell on her mistake but to dwell on how I loved her so much I stepped in to help make things right.
The enemy wanted me to remember all the things I had done wrong.
My Father wanted me to remember that I was loved.
My Father wanted me to remember that He loved me so much that He had stepped into my life years ago and wasn’t about to abandon me now.
Then I thought of the other mom, and how she must be feeling. That’s the way it works – when we get our eyes off our own misery, God can open our eyes to the misery of others.
We can love, even when issues are unresolved, because God has resolved things for us through Jesus. We can trust that it’s already done, we’re just waiting to see the results. And no matter what the results are, no matter how hard they are to face – we don’t face them alone.
It still hurt. It still was going to cost me money. It was still going to be weeks of lost time spent trying to figure out how to meet deadlines without a computer. But my perspective was different. I knew that God loved me, even in the midst of this accident. I knew He wanted me to extend His love to this other mom. I couldn’t go down the path of wallowing and wondering what I could have done differently. Instead, I opened my life up to let God work in the midst of the mess.
And boy did He ever.