Sometimes it didn’t feel quite like an emotional vacation. Dealing with people has it’s ups and downs, but fortunately serving coffee was a lot easier resolved than serving Jesus. You didn’t like your result of my prayer? Well we can try it again… Your miracle hasn’t arrived, well we can get more faith, read a few more verses, but it’s not quite quantifiable… Your latte has too much foam? Let me re-steam that soy and let it sit for a while before I pour it on your shots sir. Perfect solution, perfectly quantifiable. Still a little ticked? Let me give you a certificate for a free beverage next time. Instant satisfaction, instant solution.
Sure Starbucks had it’s moments. There was my last day where I walked into a remodel disaster, dust crusted in my $25,000 espresso bean hoppers… black water leaking from an unknown source making huge puddles all over my cafe and bar areas, but we made it work until an older gentlemen well into his 70s tried to crawl over the counter screaming at me that his friend had almost slipped on said puddle even though we had mopped the area 3x in the last hour, the leak would not subside and I’m sorry sir, but coffee production stops for no natural or remodel disaster, and no sir, I’m not worried about a lawsuit, I make about $9.05 an hour, no one is going to try and sue me. Managing the crisis was quite easy compared to my past careers. There is slightly more pressure in determining if a client is going to hurt themselves if you send them home instead of hospitalize them for suicidal tendencies and then there is the eternal damnation associated with working in the ministry. Quite a bit of stress if you imagine the blood of the unsaved on your hands, the fall of the youth you work your heart out trying to urge them to be world changers, leaving their mundane existence of sin and self deprivation. Yes, these stressors were a little more urgent, had a little more substance than creating the semi-dry cappuccino… or a latte with no milk (don’t ask), but I loved it, I couldn’t imagine anything else and I didn’t, this was going to be my life, end of story. Then in the midst of this life of insane pressure, having my wonderful daughter Clare and conceiving my amazing Eden, I became a mobwife. Not exactly the life I had planned, but things happen, life goes in directions we don’t plan and so I went to a place I’d always found calmness, completeness and happiness, God was there inside me, but on the outside, I went to Starbucks.
The last 5 years the church world moved from pastors and managers to leaders. We attended leadership conferences and I even did my second graduate degree in Organizational leadership. When I interviewed at Starbucks I used my coined phrases of “leader” vs “manager”, encouraging my partners to “excellence” with “leadership” and “coaching”, and my soon to be manager asked me if I had been coached by a friend who was a district manager for Starbucks in another state. I laughed because it’s just who I had become. “Be a leader or die” was my mantra, and luckily it landed me my emotional vacation. There’s something about a job that every day you can work hard at, utilize routines and functions properly, succeed and then go home and never think about it till you clock in the next day. Unfortunately it’s not reality, because no one can support themselves on $9.05 and hour and you definitely can’t support two girls but Starbucks was wonderful because it gave me and the girls benefits we needed and the freedom I needed to spend as much time with them as possible.
So here I am announcing to the small amount of people I have let back into my life after my life crumbled that I have reentered life in more than one way. A friend said last year after I reopened a facebook account and posted a picture of myself that it seemed that I had reappeared into the world after being hidden for a time. It’s true, I felt so exposed, so vulnerable for so long that I couldn’t bear being anymore open about even mundane things in my life. As I gradually began to feel more confident that my life was not a disaster, but a place of strength and beauty I started to feel more comfortable telling my story and sharing who I was. What happened to us did not define us, but it refined us.
Here I’m inviting you to share our journey through pain, love, laughter and beauty. It started years ago, and it hasn’t ended yet. A new chapter has begun and it begins with the girls and I making the cross global journey to the United Arab Emirates where I will once again teach 4th grade, where I will continue to crossfit (with my negotiated modifications) and where I will continue to grow in yet another interesting place with the best gifts I have been given, Clare and Eden.