Coffee Shop Distractions (Joy)

I’m sitting in a coffee shop right now trying to be serious and write about anxiety. I’m acting all serious and focused, a smooth jazz playlist blocks out the world around me and my eyes do that adult-thing where they narrow and furrow to make it look like I’m a professional.

Look at me, hipster Oklahoma coffee shop. You can call me “Andrew” because I’m an adult.

I’m sitting at one of those big wood community tables, and two ladies with two children just sat down at the other end. When they sat down I got a little bummed because I thought they could seriously hinder my professional-adult-seriousness. They must not have gotten my sophisticated “Andrew” persona.

One of the girls, the youngest, can’t be more than three years old. She has two messy pigtails and a hot pink Beatles shirt on, and she walks that way toddlers do, like she’s trying to wade through tall grass or something.

She’s smiling a lot, which really doesn’t add to my sophistication at all.

Doesn’t she know I’m trying to write about anxiety? I don’t have any time for her! I can’t be distracted!

I look back at my computer and furrow my eyes a little bit more to compensate for the lack of professionalism on the other side of the table.

The pink-pigtail girl, without my knowledge, sneaks around the table and stares over my laptop and into my furrowed eyes. She smiles. I glance up, and not wanting to be the Grinch who stole coffee shop joy, smile back at her. She giggles and quickly ducks under the table where I can no longer see her. I watch as her head bobs as she wades through tall grass back to her mother, trying hard and failing at not letting me see her.

When she reaches the other side of the table again, she jumps up and looks at me smiling. I’m trying to write, but again not wanting to be a Grinch, I look at her and smile back.

She ducks.

Two seconds.

She jumps up again. I smile again.

She ducks.

Two seconds.

She jumps up again. I smile again.

She ducks.

Two seconds.

She jumps up again. I smile again.

I quickly realize she will be content to do this all day. I decide my fancy writing about anxiety can wait because, well, pink-pigtail girl is just so expressive and kind-eyed.

*                      *                      *

Pink-pigtail girl has now left, and I’ve begun thinking about what could be my favorite quote in the entire world. It’s by G.K. Chesterton and it’s from his book Orthodoxy (which, by the way, changed my life). Here it is:

 

“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

 

This quote wears a hot pink Beatles shirt and has two unruly pigtails and just hung out with me for a little while.

Writing about serious things is so, so important, and after I finish this piece, I’m probably going to return to my big, serious project. But it’s important to remember that even in our seriousness, even in our furrowed eyebrows, there is always joy peeking her head over our laptops and briefcases and fancy business suits to say hello.

I don’t want to be too old to recognize the joy of a youthful sunrise.