Creative Adulting,  Wallflowering

Coffee, Chaos & Clarity

(an exercise in Wallflowering)

It’s never this noisy here

Ever. And everything is noisy. All the things. 

It’s loud inside…

I could easily blame the quantity of people present, but that has never made a difference before. There have been times when every seat is taken and there is still a hush over the room with just a faint hum of the brewing machines, near-whisper conversations, and whatever music piped through the sound system at an audible, but unobtrusive level.
Not today.
Today, almost every seat is taken, there is a long line at the counter and EVERYONE is LOUD AF.
Today must be “have your conference call at a coffee shop day” and for bonus points, use the speaker phone so everyone in the room can be in on it too… like we care. Even the brewing machines seemed to turn up so they could hear themselves think.
It must also be “playdate day at the coffee shop” because all the LuLu Lemons showed up with, at minimum, two kids each. At least one kid from each tribe was unhappy and on their soapbox about it. Everyone else… just congregating and conversing and contributing to the rising decibels because there was no other choice. Resistance is futile.

It’s loud outside…

On cooler mornings, I prefer to sit outside in the fresh air to consume my coffee, chocolate croissant, and put fingers to keyboard keys. Again… it’s never noisy here. Today, all the motorcycles, emergency vehicles, monster trucks, and cars with bad transmissions or booming systems decided to roll by like the Macy’s parade. Add to that, the woman seated at the table behind me and the man seated at the table in front of me both decided to conduct their personal and business calls (respectively) via speakerphone. I guess they wanted their bonus points, too. 

Maybe it’s me…

Maybe I’m hypersensitive to sound and citizens today. If I truly wanted solitude, I shouldn’t have chosen a place that fosters and thrives on a sense of community. A piazza. A place to mingle and mix and be… and I just wanted to “be.” 

As the morning went on, I began to appreciate the chaos…

I reluctantly chose this place to be my layover between scheduled events. The location is convenient, yes, but I’m craving new surroundings to draw inspiration from.
I resent the familiarity.
It represents the rut I’m in.
Same old, same old.
The chaos is a new experience.
The chaos is an opportunity.
I want to just be… so why not just be in this moment? Immersed in a living symphony that if I just pay attention for a second, I can pick up the rhythm.
If I lower my selfish shields, I will connect with the free-flowing energy… the love that keeps this place open despite the awkward corner of real estate it occupies.
The people that come here give new meaning to loyalty.
Coming here requires commitment.

In the chaos, strangers are sitting at tables together. (why not, when the other 2 or 3 chairs are not in use?)
A woman heading to her car stops by a couple to inquire about and pet their adorable puppy. Two little kids have their curious faces pressed against the window glass witnessing the transaction.
You come here knowing no one and leave knowing everyone… whether you speak to them or not. 

The longer I sit, the roar reduces to a purr…

I suspect it was always a purr. In fact, I know it was.
Today was an amazing lesson in getting out of my own way.
Accepting the things I cannot control.
To just stop, get still, and open up to receive whatever God wants to give me.

I started this wallflowering experience outside…

The increasing temperature and lack of shade sent me in.
I sat at the window bar facing out to the patio, periodically staring out at passing cars and, in particular, the newly installed bike racks across the street. Each rack is a letter in the word SMYRNA.

I’ve been looking at the SMYRNA for at least an hour while making peace with the chaos.
After I wrote the sentence about being open to whatever God wants to give me, I looked up at the SMYRNA again… and for the first time, I noticed the smiley face painted on the building behind it.  
And that, my friends, is the proverbial mic drop.

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