I was sitting in the coffee shop by my house the other day. I frequent this coffee shop because it’s 50 steps from my apartment door and there’s a big red chair there. I love this chair. It’s a leather chair with big armrests and a deep seat. It even comes with an ottoman so I can rest my feet up as well. Even better is that the red chair is situated right beside the fireplace at the coffee shop. During the winter, I come in, sit by the fireplace, drink hot chocolate, and I am taken back to before the Fall of Man. That red chair with a fireplace and hot chocolate is the way God intended the world to be.
The other day, as I was reading in the red chair, I noticed some change between the armrest and the seat cushion. I even moved the cushion to see what kind of change it was. There was a nickel and a couple of pennies. Seven cents total.
I left it there. Kären would not be pleased with me.
Tonight I was back in the red chair. I thought of the seven cents and wondered if it was still there. I peeled back the cushion and instead of a nickel and two pennies, I found a piece of a brownie instead.
After I couldn’t find the seven cents, I checked the other sides of the cushion, hoping maybe the change had moved around somehow. I’m not sure what would make me think that would happen, but never the less…
I found nothing.
* * *
I’m not a musician. I can fake it pretty well and in high school I could play the piano well enough to impress girls. When my best bud Patrick got married, in addition to being best man, I got to play some piano music as well. I asked a girl I liked to be my date because I thought once she saw me all handsome in a tux, playing the piano, she would be appropriately wooed. Unfortunately, I forgot that she was a classically trained pianist and was more than likely judging my rendition of Canon in D.
While I’m not really musical, there was this one time when I was around 19 or 20, I sang a song at church. I don’t remember what it was, but I remember my mom and friends and I were at lunch and a lady approached our table. She told me she was at church that morning and heard me sing and she was a songwriter. She told me she had written songs a long time ago that really famous people like Charlie Pride or Loretta Lynn had sung. I don’t remember if it was really Charlie or Loretta but it was people I had heard of before. She gave me her business card and told me I should call her to see if I might like to come record something.
I never called. The business card became a bookmark instead of a resource.
* * *
All of this has made me wonder if, just like the nickel and two pennies in the red chair or the business card that lady handed me, the opportunity for real and lasting change is just as fleeting. Perhaps we are given opportunities: new jobs, moving to a new location, new relationships, whatever it might be for a reason. But the catch is, like the seven cents, we might need to grab it while it’s there.
So the next time I sit in the red chair and see change out of the corner of my eye, I’m grabbing it. The next time I interact with a stranger, I’m emailing them. It may not be anything. It may be everything.