I’ve always known that my “office” away from my home office is magical. Within the four walls with jagged corners come aromas of roasted coffee beans and friendships just waiting to be unlocked. Some people are quick visitors, grabbing their pre-ordered lattes without speaking a word to other awaiting their caffeine fix, but others … others let the magic seep in to their cores and change them too.
Starbucks. I take my work on the road so much that my kids believe that I am a barista at our local coffee cafe. I wish I was as skilled as my barista friends, whipping up caffeinated beverages with a smile and an extra heap of love. But my skills are best used for motivation instead of caffeination. Instead, I usually find a cozy spot close to an outlet and let my work flow while overhearing beautiful interactions around me.
This day was a day like every other.
Various meetings were scheduled and there was plenty of work to do. Deadlines loomed and new opportunities awaited. But when the magic is ready, I’ve come to learn that I must be ready, too. For magic doesn’t take into account what’s already on your plate. Instead, it only takes into account what you need most in your life, right that very moment.
I had met with a new acquaintance the day prior in the same Starbucks I was currently sitting in, and together, we shared our personal stories as we sought ways for us to collaborate on initiatives moving forward. There were many opportunities ahead and our synergy was infectious … so much so that the lone businessman seated next to us peeked up from his archaic calculator and tossed in some commentary to add to our deep conversation. We welcomed it, and I embraced it knowing that it was the beginning of this Starbucks’ magic.
Intermittently he offered insights for us to consider, but at one point after I passed along my business card to him for us to find a way to connect later, his gazed directed only to me as he left me with a request that he took extremely seriously.
“I’m going to send you something,” he told me without breaking his gaze. “It’s something I want you to watch. And I have three requests of you regarding this. First, I want you to find a peaceful place and dedicate time to listen to this video I’m sending you. Secondly, I want you to let the message seep in. And finally, let me know what you think. Can you do that?”
His smile was authentic, and I figured following his requests were the least I could do for a man who was so passionate about what he was about to send me. The phone vibrated and I knew that his request had been delivered, waiting for me to receive it. I finished my workday and as I packed my computer into my bag, I left promising him that I’d be in touch.
Let me be honest with you. The moment I walked out of the place of magic, I forgot about the text. Life continued and I found myself with a sore throat and a foggy brain. I had much weighing on it, from my own health uncertainties to lingering concerns about my children. I was tired. I felt defeated. It wasn’t until the day following, when I arrived yet again to my local Starbucks, that I remembered my promise.
I found my normal spot at a large, shared table at my “office away from home” and placed my earbuds snug in my ears so that I could experience the video on as personal a level as I could. I clicked on the video and the magic from the day before immediately came back.
I had seen this video before, but this time, it touched me differently. Every hair on my arms stood up as I listened to each word that Steve Harvey spoke in his motivational video. I got a chill through my body as I heard him remind me that everything in life came from someone’s imagination. Each word I heard him speak was fuel for my soul that day. And, as I sat there in the middle of other businessmen and women sipping their coffees and conducting their lives as usual, I did the only thing my body would allow at that very moment. I wept.
Once the tears started, there was no option for closing the flood gates. They kept coming, streaming down my face and smearing the makeup that I had use to hide my constant dark circles. I wasn’t sobbing or struggling for breath. No, this wasn’t that type of cry. Instead it was the one where you knew at that very moment that something within you was being shifted … that there was a message you were hearing in every depth of your being. It was tears of joy and tears of honesty … tears of truth and tears of humility. I didn’t care if anyone saw me; and in truth, I wasn’t even aware if anyone did. Not until she showed up.
I had never met her before, but the moment she pulled out the chair across from me and sat down, it was as if she was a long-lost friend. Her eyes were so warm and her energy so inviting. She sat down the four coffees she was carrying and asked if I was alright. I was startled, to be honest, since I was more filled up than I had been in weeks. Then I remembered the tears, and realized that just because I felt good inside, outside I looked like a hot mess.
I told her I was just fine, but that didn’t work for her. She scooted in closer and asked me again. This time, I told her about a video that I had been encouraged to watch and shared with her that I man I had never met passed along a video the day before that was obviously the exact message I needed to hear. That was all she needed to feel comfortable in sharing her personal story with me.
The next 20 minutes of my life were filled with moments I’ll always remember. We shared personal stories about life and about families. I learned that she was over a decade younger than I, but currently struggling with challenges I have faced prior. She was a young mom who had a delivery go unexpectedly and the outcome was that for her to have her life spared she had to lose her uterus. At such a young age, she had to come to grips with such hard news.
She shared with me that after that experience, which had only been a few months prior, something within her changed. She saw firsthand how precious life is, and decided, from that point forward, she was going to SEE people and when she felt called from within to step out of her comfort zone to connect with someone, she was going to do it. That day, as she patiently stood awaiting the coffees she was picking up from a mobile order for her family, she noticed my tears and felt called to connect.
In a city of many, she focused on the one. Me. And within a few minutes we realized how we had so many similarities that we were called to share. I learned of us having a mutual connection (my cousin was someone she knew very well) and she shared her dream of writing a book one day (a dream I had recently accomplished).
When she stood up to leave, I felt whole again. The combination of the video and the new connection gave me reason to believe that there was still magic to be had … the magic from within me and the magic that I could share with others.
I left that day realizing that maybe it wasn’t the four walls of my local Starbucks that was really magical. Maybe it wasn’t the coffee aroma or the lattes that changed people. Instead, maybe it was the fact that I had been given opportunities to open my eyes to see the magic that happens each and every day, in so many moments of my life. Maybe, just maybe, magic could flood out the door like the air-conditioning does the moment it’s cracked open. But if that was going to happen, I’d have to be willing to keep my eyes open.
Are you awake? Are you open to seeing the magic happen in your life? Are you willing to look past the struggles you are facing to see the miracles that are strategically placed within each? Are you up for the vulnerability it takes to allow someone else to see you weep? Are you able to wipe another’s tears? You’re welcome in my Starbucks anytime, but now I know the magic isn’t within a place … it’s within a person. It’s within you.