In the predawn darkness I sit, sipping fresh coffee and scratching the next column on unlined sheets of printer paper. I’ve forgotten my backpack, the carry-all that I sling over my shoulder every time I go to write.

I feel disoriented without the familiar items at my fingertips; the dogeared Bible with both covers long since gone. The daily devotional, also with one cover missing, that nourishes me often. The journal in which I write my words to Him and His to me. The Thousand Gifts journal in which I record His fingerprints, handwritten on a numbered list.

So I listen for a bit, holding quiet conversation over the mug before bending to work the next piece out on plain paper, praying for inspiration as I go.
Around me, the hustle and bustle in this, my favorite place to create, begins to escalate as the sky lightens just outside the plate glass window. There comes a small group of three. I see them often here, these three gentlemen in their plain T-shirts printed with the name of their business. I wonder about them and their ties. A multigenerational trio with a grandfather, perhaps, and a son and grandson?

It’s evident that the young man has Downs syndrome. I watch the respectful, even fond interactions amongst them. I smile when he taps the elderly gentleman on the shoulder, waiting for, and receiving, a warm acknowledgement. I laugh out loud as he slips behind the man, positioning himself perfectly between his shoulder blades, sparking another smile when the gentleman turns around and – whoops! There he is.

I return a smile and a wave from a local businessman and friend. Together with his wife and sons, he owns and operates a flooring store nearby. When their business burned some time ago, they testified to God’s goodness and opened for business again. Knowing that they pray for area merchants to prosper has inspired me to do the same.

The cheerful barista behind the counter has a story, too. She’s a single mama with a darling little boy. Recently, she started college classes. Her dream, I know, is to have a coffee shop of her own someday. I hope she succeeds.

Just there are two more area businessmen, and joining the line at the counter is an advertising/marketing fellow who is also a DJ for the local Christian radio station. He’s using his talents, too.

Here comes a mother who lost her beautiful blond daughter earlier this year in a fiery crash. A son was driving. The pain she faces is unimaginable. Unspeakable.

Everyone, I’m reminded today, has a story. Every soul carries secret pain, secret longings, burdens hidden to the naked eye. Every heart thirsts for joy. And I feel once more the calling to be a channel of His joy and eternal life, offering living water and the bread of life to the hungry and thirsty.

We can do it together, you and I, by letting Him into the story He is writing for each of us. Join me?

[Tweet “Everyone has a story. Every soul carries secret pain. @RhondaSchrock”]


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