Tonight, both my soul and the outside patio of Starbucks got a good, much-needed, deep cleaning. We’re having some corporate people come in to the store tomorrow, so instead of doing my usual training regimen, my trainer and I had the job of thoroughly cleaning the store. My first task? Sweep the patio. Sounds simple enough, until you realize this includes everything down to the dried leaves, which you would think could live there undisturbed, but no. But that was only the first task. Next I had to wipe down all of the tables and chairs outside, and those get nasty. But the climax of the evening was getting to mop and scrub the entire outside patio (and it’s very large), followed by scrubbing the walls of the building and the pillars surrounding it. (And there was still more to do after that!) It was a LOT of work, and I now feel like my arms are going to fall off.
That being said, although it may sound to the contrary, I’m actually not complaining at all. Early on in the process I realized that this may be one of my few shifts at Starbucks where I’m not regularly interacting with people, so I figured I should take advantage of it. Today was another slightly rough one, mostly just feeling disconnected from people again as I go through this transition, but then I reminded myself of two things: first, I have God with me always, even if I have no one else; second, I am blessed with so many amazing friends who are with me in spirit, if not in body. So, having this time alone meant I just got to pray, and it was incredible. Although I have yet to read his book, I tried to implement what Brother Lawrence talks about in “Practicing the Presence of God,” turning every task into a spiritual encounter. As I was scrubbing the patio floor and the walls, I was praying for God to scrub my heart of any of its blackness–whether I see it or not. Also, I got talking to a customer with some pretty whacked out theories, so I was praying for his salvation and mental clarity. Just a lot of little things like that popped into my head, and I was able to turn them into prayers. It was really a beautiful experience that I’m very thankful for! The other piece of it was that I decided that I needed to do well even if it was the most menial task in the world. At one point I thought, “I have two Masters degrees and now I’m scrubbing floors,” but ultimately I think this job is really good for me. I think it’s good for me to be humbled, but also to understand what it means to earn an honest living. I’ve never had a service job like this before, so now I’ll be better able to relate to people who have. Overall, I’m really thankful that I got an evening away with the Lord free from any major distractions (I couldn’t have my phone on me, so I wasn’t able to play any games or even listen to music). What a beautiful blessing in the middle of the week! And it’s still true: God is with me no matter what! I am never truly alone!!