Friday, May 7, 2010

The Sparrow at Starbucks

I've just got to share this with all of you! I would have posted it earlier but it's been crazy around here. On Wednesday, as I went to my car to go to a different work site I noticed something on my windshield. It was an envelope tucked beneath my wiper blades. I found this article in the envelope from a friend of mine at work. Read this, you wont be sorry!

The Sparrow at Starbucks

It was chilly in Manhattan but warm inside the Starbucks shop on 51st Street and Broadway, just a skip up from Times Square. Early November weather in New York City holds only the slightest hint on the bitter chill of late December and January, but it's enough to send the masses crowding indoors to vie for available space and warmth.

For a musician, its the most lucrative Starbucks location in the world, I'm told, and consequently, the tips can be substantial if you play your tunes right. Apparently, we were striking all the right chords that night because our basket was almost overflowing.

It was a fun low-pressure gig, I was playing keyboard and singing backup for my friend who also added rhythm with an arsenal of percussion instruments. We mostly did pop songs from the '40s to the '90s wit a few original tunes thrown in.

During our emotional rendition of the classic, "If you don't know me by now," I noticed a lady sitting in one of the lounge chairs across from me. She was swaying to the beat and singing along. After the tune was over, she approached me. "I apologize for singing along on that song. Did it bother you?" she asked. "No," I replied. "We love it when the audience joins in. Would you like to sing up front on the next selection?"

To my delight, she accepted my invitation. "You choose," I said. "What are you in the mood to sing?" " you know any hymns?" Hymns? This woman didn't know whom she was dealing with. I cut my teeth on hymns. Before I was even born, I was going to church. I gave our guest singer a knowing look. "Name one."

"Oh I don't know. There are so many good ones. You pick one." "Okay," I replied, "How about 'His eye is on the Sparrow'?" My new friend was silent, her eyes averted. Then she fixed her eyes on me and said, "Yeah. Lets do that one."

She slowly nodded her head, put down her purse, straightened her jacket and faced the center of the shop. With my two-bar setup she began to sing. Why should I be discouraged? Why should the shadows come?

The audience of coffee drinkers was transfixed. Even the gurgling noises of the cappuccino machines ceased as the employees stopped what they were doing to listen. The song rose to its conclusion. I sing because I'm happy; I sing because I'm free. For His eye is on the Sparrow, and I know he watches me.

When the applause crescendoed to a deafening roar that would have rivaled a sold out crowd at Carnegie Hall. Embarrassed, the woman tried to shout over the din, "Oh, y'all go back to your coffee! I didn't come in here to give a concert! I just came in here to get something to drink, just like you!" But the ovation continued.

I embraced my new friend. "You, my dear, have made my whole year! That was beautiful!" She said, "Well, its funny that you picked that particular hymn," she paused,"that was my daughters favorite song." "Really!" I exclaimed. "Yes," she said, and then grabbed my hands. By this time the applause had subsided and it was business as usual. "She was 16. She died of a brain tumor last week."

I said the first thing that found its way through my stunned silence. "Are you going to be okay?" She smiled through tear filled eyes and squeezed my hands. "I'm going to be okay. I've just got to keep trusting the Lord and singing his songs, and everything's gonna be just fine." She picked up her bag, gave me her card, and then she was gone.

Was it just a coincidence that we happened to be singing in that particular coffee shop on that particular November night? Coincidence that this wonderful lady just happened to walk into that particular shop? Coincidence that of all the hymns to choose from, I just happened to choose the very hymn that was the favorite of her daughter, who had died just the week before?

I refuse to believe it. God had been arranging encounters in human history since the beginning of time, and its no stretch for me to imagine that he could reach into a coffee shop in midtown Manhattan and turn an ordinary gig into a revival. It was a great reminder that if we keep trusting Him and singing His songs, everything's gonna be okay. The next time you feel like God cant use YOU, just remember....
*Abraham was too old
*Isaac was a daydreamer
*Jacob was a liar
*Leah was ugly
*Joseph was abused
*Moses had a stuttering problem
*Gideon was afraid
*Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer
*Rahab was a prostitute
*Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
*David had an affair and was a murderer
*Elijah was suicidal
*Isaiah preached naked
*Jonah ran from God
*Naomi was a widow
*Job went bankrupt
*Peter denied Christ
*The disciples fell asleep while praying
*Martha was worried about everything
*The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once
*Zaccheus was too small
*Paul was too religious
*Timothy had an ulcer
*Lazarus was dead!

No more excuses now! God can use you to your full potential. Besides, you arent the message, just the messenger!

I'm so glad that God arranged for my friend to find this and that it would make her think of me enough to make sure that I got to read it too. Thank you Amber!


Allison (Ali) said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. It is truly amazing how we are touched day to day by those who we don't know. It's God's way of reaching out to us, and I have to try to remember that.

I needed a reminder today and you gave me a wonderful one.

Marie W said...

You have me crying over here! Thank you for sharing. {hugs}

Britt said...

Thank you so much for sharing that beautiful story! As I sit here with tears in my eyes I am reminded, thanks to you, that even thought I didn't ask for it...God can use me! Inperfect, broken, sinful me! Thank you!

Just Breathe said...

I have chills going up my spine.
That is such a beautiful story and I know that it touched your heart.
Thank you so much for sharing it.

Franchesca said...

Wow!!!! What a powerful story!! Thanks for sharing, Jen. I am so encouraged by this story :)


Emily said...

Love this! Thanks for posting it

Ashley D said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I love posts like these.

Andrea said...


I'm in tears, as this is so beautiful and touching. I fully believe "he" arranges and facilitates what we need, just when we need it most. He remains the creator of all things....even HOPE :)

God bless your sweet friend Ashely for passing this along to you.

Much Love Sweet Girl...
praying that you have peace of heart as your celebrate Mother's Day and honor your babies, Bryston and Peanut. You ARE a Beautiful Mother.


Anonymous said...
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Jody said...

Angels Among us...that's all i have to say.

Love you!

DeniFay said...

That is so beautiful, lots of things made me tear up as I was catching up on my 'reading' today, but this brought on full-fledged down the face tears! Thanks for sharing and Happy Mother's Day to you!!!

Holly said...

Thank you for sharing that!!!