This morning when I went to The Mill, I met my Finnish friend and we talked about life for awhile. Unfortunately, the credit card machine was broken and I had no cash to purchase my coffee. I thought that sucked. But after we finnished talking, I took him back to CVA (he's a senior in high school). After getting money from the ATM, I returned to the coffee shop and got my drink via cash.
Not long after publishing "Today", this morning, a man with a walker entered The Mill and approached the counter, seeking a beverage. Not meaning to listen in, but close enough to hear what was said, I discovered that the man had only a credit card to pay with. He was disappointed at the news, but sat down at a table near the windows. It didn't click at first, but finally I knew I should offer to buy him a drink, considering I had enough cash and all. But what a nerve-wracking feeling that was. I don't know why I feel so nervous and scared to talk to strangers, but this especially was difficult. It felt like a long time I sat there, but eventually......... I went to the bathroom.
After using the facilities, I paused a moment and asked God to let happen whatever would happen. I didn't know what that meant really, but I hoped it would make me do what I knew I needed to do. As I exited the restroom, I strode right over to the man's table without missing a beat. It reminded me of what I imagine sky diving to be like. Letting go. Giving in. A beautiful falling sensation.
"Hey, I didn't mean to eavesdrop, but I heard that you didn't have cash to pay and the credit card machine is broken. I was wondering if I could buy your drink for you."
The surprise on his face was great. He smiled and declined politely.
"Well okay. *I chuckled* I was here earlier this morning and only had my card so I had to go get cash too, so I thought I'd help you out."
Again, declined, but with sincere thanks.
"Alright, if you change your mind, just let me know." We smiled and I returned to my seat, shaking like a skyscraper in an earthquake. Twas ridiculous how on edge I felt. But it was a good feeling too. After deep breaths and refocusing, I felt better. I'm not sure why I think something bad will happen if I offer to help a stranger. Just something to get over, I guess.
Maybe he had never been offered a hand before. Maybe he was so taken aback that that was the only response to be mustered. Maybe he thought I was gay, with my little scarf and asking to buy him a drink. Maybe he perceived me to be a serial killer with my dark, scientific glasses. Regardless, my offer was turned down, which solidified a concept I've pondered before.
Accepting help and such, is an important thing. I personally have issues with accepting favors and assistance from people. I don't like to have to rely on others. But what a smack in the face it is to some people when you deny them the opportunity to follow through with something they feel led to do. That is why I am working on becoming better at being open to help. Part of God inspiring us to serve others is getting to follow through with the service, rather than only offering it.
I was not in any way offended by the declination of my offer today. It felt kinda crazy. Okay, so maybe a lot crazy, but that was what I didn't like about it. I wish it would be commonplace for people to help others out like that. I wish he would have had to say "No thanks" to three people at least. It may have been more difficult to not accept the offer.
I don't have a great ending to this, but I just felt inspired to share and follow up on what I'd posted this morning. Its more evidence that God is working. Plus, it reassures me that I'm doing at least something right and going in the correct direction by putting my actions where my words are. Converting these words and ideas into a lifestyle is the next step.