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I’m driving toward my favorite coffee shop the other day. Morning traffic is crazy as usual. I’m meeting my friend for coffee before I head off to work. The funny thing is, when I try to stop for a quick cup of coffee on my way to work, I am ALWAYS late. But when I meet Him for coffee and we sit down and talk, I always make it to work on time somehow…weird. I’ll never figure Him out. And I’m beginning to suspect that is how He likes it.
A tow truck barrels through a red light and I have to slam on my brakes to avoid getting T-boned. “Jesus!” I exclaim without thinking. And, of course, there He is.
“Bam! Here I AM!” He says sounding happy. He always sounds happy. A little annoying sometimes. He loves to rhyme, too. I think He just loves words in general.
“I see what you did there.” I manage to say. He always tries to get me talk to Him like I would a friend or brother. It’s sometimes hard for me, because of who He is, but I try. And He is the One who always tells me that I don’t have to be perfect, just try my best.
“That was a close one!” He remarks as he starts pushing the buttons on my satellite radio. An old song by Styx comes on. “Hey! This can be like your new car’s theme song. You know, because you’re driving a Renegade!” Every song He finds on the radio always starts playing from the beginning, weird.
“What is that smell? Is that curry?” It’s hard to get His attention sometimes. It’s like He’s experiencing everything all at once. Some kind of angelic ADD. He’s poking the buttons on the sunroof, opening it, closing it halfway, tilting it.
“I was in India. Stopping an earthquake.”
“But why do you smell like curry?”
“Well, I was actually having dinner with some friends, and then there was this earthquake that was starting.”
“And I kinda stopped it. I didn’t want to see the restaurant buried under rubble. The food there is so so good.”
“Well, okay. That explains the smell. But why do you have to make such a dramatic entrance?”
“I’m the Son of God. All my entrances are dramatic.”
“Well, uh. Okay, then.” I reach for my turn signal and slow down as the nation’s most famous coffee shop gets closer.
“Wait, not this one. Let’s go to the next one.”
“Are you going to tell me why?”
“Okay, whatever.” I mutter as I speed back up and head for the next one. Fortunately it is only about a block away. As it gets closer, I venture to inquire. “Why don’t you ever answer my questions?”
He thinks for a moment before offering, “Now, that question I will answer.” I am silent, not wanting to ruin the moment. He drops these little truth bombs on me from time to time. “Answers can be anyone’s. Even if they are technically correct answers, they could still have originated with someone else, your teachers, your parents, etc.” He pauses then looks at me intently. His steady gaze, the compassion, the power, is absolutely unsettling. “But questions. The curiosity. The wondering. That is your own.”
“Wow.” I say as I pull into the parking space. “If you had a microphone you could actually drop…” I am interrupted by a thudding sound, and then the loud sound of feedback echoes from the speakers of my Jeep. Looking down, I see an actual cordless microphone lying on the passenger floor. “Really?” Jesus gets out of the car smiling shyly. I would almost swear He’s blushing a little, but it’s so hard to tell with his dark skin.
I can’t find my sunglasses, so I squint at the bright sunlight as I walk toward the glass front door of the coffee shop. I’m pretty sure the microphone will be gone by the time we get back to the car, but anything is possible. That’s the thing you learn about Jesus. Absolutely anything is possible.
Once we’re inside, I start to smile. This is always the most exciting part for me. They ALWAYS get his name wrong. You think it wouldn’t be so hard, because he has like a million different names, but they are never anywhere close to getting it right.
He always orders something different. Usually always gets the special. If they forget to write the special of the day on the chalkboard menu, then he will just ask the cashier what he or she recommends. The cashier today seems disinterested. She’s attempting unsuccessfully to multi-task by texting on her cell phone that she is hiding (again, unsuccessfully) behind the register.
He gives His name as “Jehovah”…and when we pick up our drinks, the following lame attempt is scrawled on the side of the cup:
“Okay, that’s a new one.” I remark as we find a table.
“There’s a place where they actually use something really close to that name for Me.” Suddenly there seemed to be a faraway look in His eye.
“Oh yeah?” I say, pulling out my chair. “And what place is that?”
“It’s not important. Suffice it to say, that Jake was right. There are other worlds than this one.”
I don’t even bother to ask who “Jake” is or what other worlds He’s talking about, because I know He won’t tell me. The Dude likes His secrets, that’s for sure. But I do venture a repeat of an earlier question. “So, you want to tell me why we are at this location instead of the other one? This one is further away from work. I just don’t want to be late.”
“Have I ever let you be late? In case you haven’t noticed, I am in the business of giving back time that life takes away.” He smiles at this statement, like it brings Him all the joy in the world.
“Okay, so why this one?” I take a tiny sip of my coffee but it is still too hot to drink.
“You’ll find out in about seven minutes…. But why don’t you ask Me what you really want to ask?”
“Um, uhh…” I hesitate. It’s not just that He knows too much about my life and what I’m going through, it’s that He knows absolutely everything about my life and what I struggle with. “I…” don’t know how to put it into words. Maybe there aren’t any words for this question. Maybe there never were.
Just then I am saved by an angry outburst at the counter. “I ordered mine before they ordered theirs! I should have gotten mine first! I don’t have time for this ____.” The bespectacled overweight gentleman at the counter is gesticulating wildly with his hands. The last word in his tirade was cut off by the sound of a car horn from the nearby intersection.
I smile. This is just too good. I’ve seen Him do this before. He does it all the time. The man at the counter is demanding his morning beverage as his face is turning red with rage. As he sprinkles his exclamation with expletives, a car alarm goes off in front of the coffee shop. The beeping of the alarm is timed perfectly to censor the man’s curse words.
“I think You can stop now. He got his coffee.” I point out, as if He didn’t know.
The older man is still muttering to himself as he struggles to get the lid off of his coffee cup. “You probably didn’t put enough sugar or cream in it. You never do!” He yells out to no one in particular.
“So, your question?” He insists. That steady compassionate gaze is unraveling all my mental safeguards that I use to vainly protect my insecurities and vulnerabilities.
“Are you going to tell me if I’m going to win Power-ball?” I quip.
“You don’t even play the lottery. You got to be in it to win it, brother.” Again with the rhyming. He takes a healthy gulp of his coffee before continuing. “And I know you don’t want to know about the future. It’s your past you want to know about.”
My mind reaches for the words. They are still not there.
He smiles gently and forms the words for me. “All those years ago. It was not your fault. I think on some level you know this to be true, but let me put your fears to rest.”
I look out the window at the passing cars. I look at the man struggling to doctor his coffee with more sugar and cream than is healthy for anyone. I look down at the floor. Anything to distract me from the truth. The truth and that calm stare from my friend. Can I trust Him?
“It was not your fault, or your brother’s fault, that he left you and your mother. It was not even her fault. You can stop blaming her, your brother, and especially yourself.”
I’m fighting the tears back with all my might. I don’t want to cry in the middle of this stupid coffee shop. He reaches across the table and squeezes my hand. I don’t pull my hand away.
Hot tears form tiny rivers down my face but nobody seems to notice. I have Him to thank for that. I have Him to thank for so much. “But why?” I manage to croak. My voice is unfamiliar to me.
I think He’s not going to answer this, but He surprises me. He always does. “Well, when people come together and make families, there is a certain mental, emotional, and spiritual weight to the structure. And people by themselves cannot support that structure. Not without my help. But I have to be asked, invited in. Then I can come in and hold everything up…you know, keep it going.” I blink my eyes free of tears. It makes sense to me…finally. “You were never meant to go it alone.” A wry smile turns up one corner of His mouth.
Just then, the man who was raging before about not getting his coffee first reaches the door. One hand clutches his beloved drink, a newspaper tucked under that arm. His free hand extends toward the handle of the glass door, misses it completely, hitting the glass and sliding downwards. He smacks his head on the door with a low thudding sound on his way down to the ground.
A barista shrieks as the coffee shop erupts in chaos. I begin to wonder if it has been seven minutes yet.
“Someone call 911!” a stranger cries, while waiving his cell phone around in the air in front of him. “Why don’t you just call 911?” I think to myself.
The large man is lying on the ground in front of the door in a crumpled heap. Jesus is on his feet and across the room before I even notice He has moved. Others are there too, fussing over the body. Someone has grabbed the man’s wrist. “I can’t find a pulse!” He yells.
There are some tense moments when the din dies down and an awkward silence fills the shop,thick like the odor of coffee.
Jesus reaches down toward one of the man’s legs where the man’s slacks have ridden up slightly, exposing a fleshy calf. When His hand touches the man’s leg, he immediately gasps loudly half-way sitting up from the floor. The sudden spasm shocks the little crowd gathered close around him and they recoil.
Sirens can be heard in the distance, coming closer. There is another entrance to the coffee shop and we decide to use that one. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that He doesn’t like to stay around for accolades or public praise.
As we turn down the nearby highway that leads to the building where I work, an ambulance flashes past lights and sirens blaring. As the noise fades, I ask “So, when do you want to meet again?”
“As always, I am going to leave that up to you. You let me know.” The roller coaster of emotions I have experienced this morning has my nerves all jangled, but He seems fine. “Yo. Here ya go.” His hand comes up and I see that He is handing me my sunglasses.
“Where did You find these? I thought I lost them.” I ask the question before I can stop myself. Finding what is lost is kind of His thing.
“Just put them on.” He rarely utters blunt commands like that, so obey immediately.
As soon as I get the shades arranged on my face, a truck carrying sheets of glass on its side turns onto the road in front of me. The morning sun strikes the glass at just the right angle to provide a blinding flash of light that robs me of sight for at least a full second.
I don’t even have to look over toward the passenger seat to know that Jesus has left the Jeep. He’s so dramatic.
Just then, the radio clicks on and a song starts playing. “Walkin’ on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves. I roll my eyes. Jesus.
Jefferson Holbrook, DSC, received a Doctor of Science in Communications from Tudor College of Earlscroft University and has published numerous essays, articles, poems, short stories and blogs. He is also the author of two collections of poetry. He lives with his boys in the southeastern United States.
My First Blog: http://jbhpoetry.blogspot.com/
© Copyright 2016 Jefferson Brian Holbrook and Kingdom of the Son. All rights reserved.