The activity at Panera is brisk today—for a Monday. There are lots of regulars today. They greet the ladies at the register by name. They greet their fellow customers who occupy the same spot day by day.
There’s talk of sports headlines. In one corner, guys are huddled—I can’t tell the subject of their discussion but they seem to be in tune. Across the way, he’s decked in a suit, coffee in hand with newspaper in hand. His diesel truck with extended cab seems to tell a different story.
She, on the other hand, stands with her legs crossed and still dressed with gym attire and headband. Her gloved hands with keys ready tell me that she is ready to move.
It’s Monday at Panera, and this scene is being repeated 1,000 times over across the country. People—some of them in a hurry, some of them steady, some of them with great cares—but all of them with stories. They have pasts full of pain and joy.
In those stories, they need someone to reach out and to offer a kind word, a deliberate deed, a gentle answer, an understanding of their story. How often I’ve missed those stories and those moments because I’ve been so caught up in my own.
I think about Jesus. It seems that wherever he went, whatever he did, he seemed to come into a town or into a room and people were drawn to him. He understood their stories. He connected with those stories. He felt their pain. And he gave.
It was the right word, the right time, the right way. Sometimes it was a challenge—really honest truth. I’m glad that he reminds me to live this way—to give something away, today.
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Published January 25, 2013
Topics: Lessons with Bill