All I know is optimism on starting a new day ahead of the game quickly faded today.
For once in my life, the nighttime version of Josh was considerate to the morning Josh and set his alarm. It was beautiful. Maybe it is age, but I wanted to get an early start to my day and even be first in the office. The forecast had promised rain, and covered parking is important when one still does not have a back window in his car. I had a strong plan.
When the morning came earlier than expected, I was not shaken. My crisp shirt was waiting on me on top of the ironing board. I got dressed and made a smooth escape, after giving Melissa a little kiss, the dog a pat and tidying up from our toddler, who manages to leave her “stuff” all over the floor. The mess did not bother me. Instead of getting mad and kicking it all under the couch, I lovingly gathered her stuff and put them into plastic containers — blocks, bracelets, and a brown sock were quickly raptured from the living room floor. With a tidy home, Melissa would wake up in a good mood, too. It was a good deed that hopefully would reap dividends of hugs later.
I wasn’t quite awake but started the early drive. On my way to Starbucks, I was passed by a fast and loud Mustang. It was so loud that it was rude. I felt a twinge of irritability arise in me but dismissed it. At 5:46 a.m., I arrived at Starbucks, letting out a resolved sigh in the gradual recognition that my day had begun.
This is the painful part. Because I can’t drink milk, I humbly mumbled my order: “I’ll have a grande coffee with steamed soy.”
They know this, because it is the same thing I have ordered every day for the past three years. However, instead of getting the chipper “OK, Josh,” I was met with condolences. The girl paused, and the other employees gathered.
They gave me a strong yet understanding look as she said, “We are out of soy, Josh. We are sorry.”
In a posture of defense, I put on my smile and tried to cover my quivering bottom lip. Backing away and giving an understanding nod, I retreated to my car.
I wanted to cry. For a moment, I entertained the idea of returning home and hiding in the safe embrace of sweet Melissa. But at 5-something in the morning, there is no sweet Melissa. All I know is that I wanted to be heard, to be held and to devour a chocolate rabbit. Oh my! Then, I realized that this overly tender reaction was not because of the lack of soy — but because of soy.
You see, soy contains estrogen. For years I have been filling my coffee with this tenderizing hormone making me a better listener and gentle dad. No wonder!
It was now 5:52 a.m., and I pouted my way onto the highway, where I hastily dodged traffic. My radio decided to work (it works intermittently), and on comes part of a sermon. I was not in a sermon mood, but the novelty of a working radio forced me to listen. Then, it hit me.
So often, I have wanted things my way, on my schedule, and wanted all messes to be quickly picked up and put away. When things did not go my way, I had a spiritual tempter-tantrum.
As I sulked through the sermon, I realized I had been so busy lately that I had not been taking the time to listen to God’s word. I was so busy seeking things that I wanted, my plans, my agenda and living by my fragile mood. Because of selfish stubbornness, I had chosen the hard way every day when Jesus is inviting me to follow His easy way. I sat in my work cube and spent the next hour listening to praise music and studying His word. His Word became caffeine to my soul and awakened my sleeping calloused heart to the gentle touch of His presence. A captured heart by God always yields a tender spirit.
I still hope Melissa gives me lots of hugs later.
Josh Loudermilk is a part of Humor to Outreach (H2O), through which he travels with a team of comics, whose mission is to use humor to convey the gospel of Jesus Christ. He, his wife, Melissa, and daughter, Chloe, live in Walden Lake. You can reach Josh at firstname.lastname@example.org.