James 1:22 But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
I talked about Christmas cards and not getting some of the “usuals.” What I did not talk about was the facebook bouncer I had to look into.
I received a Christmas card from someone I had completely forgotten was a “friend” on fb. I am going to be honest, it completely creeped me out. They said they liked looking at the positive posts. Since they never “like” any of them, I had no idea they were watching. Creepy.
My mind began constructing a mental image of facebook. I am an extreme coffee drinker ( I try to make half-caf whenever possible, so please judge not) so the meeting place for fb takes place in a cafe.
Mentally, I walk to the exclusive brick building with intricate cast iron detail. The trendy chalk board sign invites me in with enticing flavors listed and the aroma wafting from the building brings butterflies of anticipation. But, there is a bouncer at the door. This is an exclusive,”By invitation ONLY,” club.
“Do you have a friend request?” He barks. I scramble to find the invitation in my purse, finally producing the golden ticket. He lowers the chain and, with a transformed disposition, smiles widely and welcomes me.
I step through the gate and immediately feel like, “I have arrived!” The heavy carved wooden doors slowly swing open and I walk in. The murmur of talking, laughing, and the clinking of dishes greets me. The brick arches above remind me of an Italian winery, but the sliding steel doors separating the kitchen from the dining area feels industrial. Burlap bags and heavy metal grinding parts are anchored to the walls enticing my eyes to dance around the crowded room to take in the ambiance. The aroma of roasting coffee beans mixed with caramel, mocha, and cinnamon permeates the air, ahhh….. .
I approach the deep heavy oak counter that appears to be straight out of an old western country store. It embraces rounded glass, showcasing sky high pie, decadent cheese cake slices, 8 in bagels, and brownies topped with whipped cream, dripping in caramel and fudge. There are smiles all around as the barista’s are busy filling a liquid description of their patrons. My turn!
“Small, blonde roast, black, steamed (extra hot), with a shot of peppermint, in a to-go cup (because those have a lid and keeps it hot longer), please.” I step a side so the couple behind me have their opportunity to define themselves in liquid flavor. The amazing thing is, this is the “FB Cafe” so in my imagination, these beverages are free for the asking, no one is forced to be here or partake.
I am served with a with smile and a,”Find a seat and enjoy yourself!”
I reflect back the smile, pick up my steamy welcoming brew, and make my way down two cut limestone stairs. Over-stuffed leather chairs with mid-height tables constructed from old singer sewing machines hug the stone wall on the right. To the left is a floating bar with with tractor seat bar stools. In the middle are area rugs with differing era’s of furniture: art deco pieces with crisp lines and controlled curves along with moderism pieces introducing aluminum and molded laminates. A high back chair with straight lines, perched in the back corner, appearing to be straight out of a Frank Lloyd Wright home, beckons me. Uncharacteristically for this design, a thick cushion is poised on the seat and I allowed myself to sink to the bottom.
At the head of the room, an open microphone was front and center. The “friends” take turns boasting/posting, or at least sharing what is going on in there lives. I sip my brew, watch and listen. After each “friend” contributes, a few clap or “like” their presentation, others receive a standing ovation, or hundreds of “likes.”
Some friends post or share more than others, but there are “friends” that remain at the back of the room, watching, not interacting. A few more come in the door and are handing out flyers to their “clubs,” bop up to the microphone to make announcements about themselves and waive for people to “like” them, but do not take the time to define themselves at the counter, come over and greet the club owner who is walking around making sure everyone is comfortable, or pay any attention to any of their “friends” in the room. They are so focused on their own club they are missing out on the lives they have been welcomed to touch. I wipe a tear knowing they will walk out with more numbers to add to their guest list but no memories of others to be treasured.
Then there are the guests that sit next to the door on their PDFs. Maybe they are required to be there as they are in the same “organization” as the owner of this cafe and the head office wants it to appear as though they spend time with the “little person.” They assign upper management to make “friends.” These “friends” have brought in their own brew as they do not want to verbalize who they are, to protect their identities–they have own their intimate friends, this is work. They may or may not “Like” a performance, pending on if they have looked up from their PDF at the right moment. If the owner visits their raised table by the door, these individual are seasoned small talkers and can often fool those seeking relationships, with shallow compliments and airs of importance.
This is where I found myself. In multiple spots, actually.
I realized how blessed I have been to be invited into the lives of people. I was convicted of my own distraction when some are stepping out of their comfort zone and putting themselves out there to be judged. I saw how many are distracted so these folks solos go almost unnoticed, with few, if any “likes.”
I also became painfully aware of others who were using this cafe to further their own personal interests, not to build relationships which was the purpose/dream of this cafe. Then there was the PDF people. Can you even call these people friends, if they were assigned to be there?
This was from whom I received the Christmas card.
I summoned the bouncer. It’s hard enough putting oneself up there to speak of personal situations, but assigned audience members who remain quiet, watch w/out participation, then report their finding to others, feels a little “stalky.”
Let’s go back to the word: “James 1:22 But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
We were put on this earth not to watch everyone else live their lives, but to participate, encourage, maybe even become barista’s in their shops, if we have the time. If we don’t, we are deceiving ourselves and eventually will be “bounced” when we are found out.
Where are you seated?
Until January 9th: Blessings