Several days a week, I support the local business by eating at one of the downtown diners. I have a regular table and they know me by my name – like Cheers with coffee instead of brewskies. What I am about to share isn’t exclusive to my little village’s diner, for I’ve experienced it at Panera‘s in Richmond, Buzz Brews in Dallas, Macdonald‘s in mountain villages, and Starbucks everywhere. And you may have experienced it in your favorite breakfast spot as well.
Most everyday, the regulars show up go through their morning rituals. And the conversations are near identical. Ideologies may differ, but the same topics are shared. I rarely chip in my thoughts, but I love listening.
Weather … always too hot, too cold, glad it isn’t snowing, wishing for snow, happy for a break in the weather, but always complaining about the weather.
Politics … pro-Trump, anti-Trump. Recently it’s been impeachment buzz with opinions from all. Even farmers have political degrees around the breakfast tables. Today, I am predicting a hearty discussion on the State of the Union address, especially Pelosi’s ripping the speech up at the conclusion of our President’s speech.
Don’t get them started on local politics, ouch. This is so true in Virginia right now. My crowd loves their 2A rights and guns, and Richmond better wake up or Vexit may become a reality.
Health … who’s had surgery, who have we lost, and why is everything so expensive. These people hear about stuff before HIPA is ever taken into consideration. Everybody knows everything.
The Local Headlines … fires, new businesses, school sports, and whatever is the day’s topic.
Pop Culture … even my little town talks about big events occasionally. True, they may know more about the Super Bowl than the Masked Singer, but they do have an opinion.
Making fun of each other … apparently, nobody really works hard except the one speaking. And they think I only work one day a week.
I also see Bible studies, grandparents meeting kids and grandkids, tourists (easy to spot), and the individual who just wants to be left alone in their corner of the room so they can start their day off in solitude (EarPods in, phones in hand, or maybe a book.)
I love it. True, they get a bit raw. It’s unfiltered. Sometimes conversations have more criticism than solutions. Their opinions are often voiced without consideration of all the facts. And they even mock the local preachers at times … but most often they just ask us to help the person at table with them for their breakfast buddy seems to be all messed up. (That’s every breakfast buddy, no matter who is speaking).
But here’s what I see. Not what I hear, but what I see.
Real people with real concerns. Hard workers who appreciate others but don’t really let many in to see the hurts and fears. Some are openly struggling with health, stress, families, and more. Bragging and humor are often a deflection. I see people who love to be around people but often are stuck in a mode that compares too much.
I hear conversations that are surface and often trivial, but I see people who need each other. And maybe this little slice of their day is one of the ways they get it.
But more than that, I see people who need God, His grace, His love, His hope. Maybe I can help with that. Throw in a positive connection to faith in the conversation. Stay positive when all seems too easy to complain about. Show God’s love in my actions and words.
Maybe I can do that.
Maybe you can too.