Cups of Coffee

Written by: Carolyn Ruttan

This is a true story that happened a couple years ago.

It was a chilly morning around 7:00am and I was taking the dog for a walk in the closed circuit community across from my house.  I live in the capital city in Honduras so it isn’t exactly a good idea for me to walk where I want alone.  So generally I stick to that neighbourhood where people know me.

The boss of the guards stopped me to give my schnauzer Abby a pat on the head. After we were finished our walk and I passed under the guard rail, two of the guards sat on the curb. Both of them were wearing their winter jackets. One of them even had a winter hat.  One of them told me he wanted me to bring them a gift of coffee.  I didn’t think that I heard right. For one I had never heard it worded like that before…a gift of coffee, so I asked him to repeat it.  And again, he said what I thought he said, and I continued across the road and acted like I didn’t understand.

However inside I was kind of fuming. I know….ridiculous right?  I was thinking how presumptuous of him to expect me to bring him coffee.  See, to back up a little, over the course of the almost five years we have lived here, I have occasionally bought the guards a coke, popsicle, chocolate bar or brought them  home made goodies or turkey dinner on Christmas day. I guess it made me a little mad that now it was an expectation brought on by none other than myself that I will give them stuff like coffee whenever they ask, when I had just wanted to bless them once in a while. In all fairness to him, I did kind of set myself up for it.  It is kind of a cultural thing here, or maybe it’s anywhere in the world that once you start something it then becomes expected.

But then I felt God gently speak about the attitude of my heart. It was like he was saying “Carolyn, seriously…it’s a cup of coffee.” I saw my heart for what it was at that moment…. exposed and ugly.    How hard would it have been to walk across the road with a couple cups of coffee to the two men that have been pulling a 24 hour shift, while sitting outside the whole time with no way to get warm when there is a chill in the air?  Meanwhile, they work to keep that neighborhood safe.  A neighbourhood they allow me freely walk in even though I don’t actually live in it.  Because you know what?  Looking back at them sitting on the curb…they did look cold. They did look tired.  Some might not think that Honduras would ever get cold, but let me assure you that it does get cold. Even for this Canadian girl.   I’d like to say I listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit that day, but sadly, I was stubborn and ignored the promptings upon my heart.

The Bible talks about the heart though doesn’t it?

Jer 17:9 The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked, who really knows how bad it is?

1 Peter 4: 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

Ouch!

So I end this by saying that I regretted not doing what I knew I should have done.  I felt kind of raw and broken about it at the time, because these two guards were good people. I talked to them all the time. I knew their names.  No harm was meant by the request.  I can still see myself walking away from them sitting on that curb…cold and only wanting coffee.

Psalm 139:23; 24 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Ezekiel 36:26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. ”

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