On Christmas day there was an article on the front page of the Sports section of the Times about a popular coffee shop waitress who loves to talk sports with her customers
(“A side of sports talk,” by Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, p C1, December 25, 2013). Wearing a Kansas City Chiefs Santa hat, she “serves bacon and eggs with generous dollops of news and opinion about sports … Statistics are liberally poured out like syrup. Opinions are plunked into the middle of the table like a bottle of hot sauce.”
Apparently she’s been doing this for some time – long enough to have developed a clientele that comes as much for the sports as for the food. Many of them are retired and they will sit for hours just to listen to the banter. “Sports is more than her passion, it’s also her currency for buying trust and opening hearts.” Words like “community” and “connection” are used throughout this article to describe what this one woman has created using the world of sports as a catalyst.
She’s a student of sports. She has ESPN on all the time at home and follows the scores, standings and side stories of all the major teams, especially focusing on the teams her regulars most relate to. There is a point in which she does this for herself, because she is genuinely interested (she would love to be a sports commentator on TV), but she also does this for the people she serves. It’s a passion turned outwards – creating not an end in itself, but a track on which to run a relationship.
Here at the Catch, where the Gospel of Welcome spreads through relationships, we are especially attuned to what creates and maintains those relationships. Not that we are using relationships as a means to an end, but that we realize God can’t use us in the lives of others if we are not in relationship with them.
Have you ever thought of something you love – something that is a passion with you, whether it’s a hobby or a recreation or health or history – as being something that can help you buy trust and open hearts? Maybe you have even been a little guilty about how much time and interest you put into something because it’s not directly “spiritual.” But this is our Father’s world, and He shines in all that’s fair, so that you can not only find God in the thing you are interested in, you can also find the possibility of relating to lots of other people who have the same interests, and what does that spell? R-e-l-a-t-i-o-n-s-h-i-p-s.
The writer concludes the article with this woman’s boss realizing how knowledgeable she is about sports and how good she is talking about it, saying to her, “You know, you should do something with your life.” Her reply, as she looks around the cafe is quick and confident: “I am doing something,” she told him. “I’m here.”