I’ve walked at least a half mile down Peachtree Street. The strong smell of urine wafts from around certain corners. Horns honk. People walk fast. Some sit with blank stares. I see wedding bands and suggestive looks. I watch empty eyes stare and a mailman empty a large blue mailbox. I see young men riding bicycles faster than I would ever want to ride even on an open country road.
Walking back to the parking lot
may be a little scary. I think that Peachtree Street becomes fairly empty after 5pm.
I left home early so I would miss the rush hour traffic
that fills 285, the beltway around Atlanta.
285 and it’s tributaries channel people to and from home
… but not smoothly, quickly or effortlessly … at least not during rush hour.
Traffic comes to a standstill sometime between 4pm and 6pm.
And sometimes, it stays that way for hours.
I found my destination and then set my gps for a Starbucks nearby.
My meeting begins at 7pm. My hope is to learn more about WordPress
the company that hosts this page and millions more.
I needed a place to hang out until the meeting begins,
so I chose Starbucks because they have free wifi.
I thought I would blog and work on projects that I’m working on right now.
I certainly can’t come into Starbucks, use their wifi and NOT buy something.
I stepped up and placed my order for a tall Decaf Caramel Cappucino. yum.
As I drank, I was reminded of the day – the middle of the week of Easter
and my fast. I chose to set aside coffee for Lent.
I’m not a Catholic, but it certainly couldn’t hurt
to deny myself one of my favorite pleasures: my morning joe.
And I must admit, it isn’t the coffee that is the splurge.
It isn’t the caffeine … the jolt … the energy.
For me, it’s all about the sugar, the creamer, the flavor.
So, here I sit with foam on my upper lip
thinking about people,
and being busy,
and how a practice – going without coffee since Ash Wednesday, March 9th, –
can be so easily laid aside
when one is distracted
by obligation (I must pay to use wifi)
or fear (I need to find a safe place to sit and wait for my meeting).
A half-dozen Segways strolled by a bit ago. There are executives in suits and homeless with their backpacks. I’m watching an ambulance respond to an emergency and there is a young man playing guitar across the street, reminding me of a Youtube video of a young Justin Beiber that I watched not so long ago.
I’m not made for the city. There are too many people. If I believe – as I do – that we are all humanity hurting, where would I start? So much movement. I want to say “hello” to everyone. I want to reach out and make a difference. I want to tell someone about what Christ has done in my life. I prefer to make friendships and bring up God when there is a natural lead in … not walk up and share a tract or hold some “Repent” sign.
I used to be one to go into an empty room of people and leave having met every person there. Today, I prefer smaller groups. A conversation with three or four wins over a party of forty any day. I’d rather sit and talk than join you at a movie. I’d prefer you join me for breakfast over a chance to sit beside you at a concert.
And I prefer smaller buildings
with fewer people
that I can truly have a chance to
and make a difference.
And that was Jesus, wasn’t it? He came to make a difference.
He spoke to crowds, but he spent a great deal of time with twelve,
walking along the way and sitting down for chats.
But, I know that He never found Himself with
“foam on his upper lip”
having forgotten a promise or vow that He made to His Father.
Lord, help me be more like you
especially when I become distracted,
speak to me with your OUTDOOR voice …
get my attention …
that I may hear.