Recently there has been a new girl. The service became instantly terrible. Becky was too scared to speak audibly, too timid to come to the counter without being beckoned, and the latte was cold. I guess I don’t mind cold coffee so much – Becky is a very pretty, sweet, looking girl with the lightest, softest blond hair, and a beautiful fair complexion. She looked so scared that she could have burst into tears at any moment. I thanked her for my (cold) coffee, threw some small talk her way, and had my first cold latte. It wasn’t too bad. Over the months she has learned how to nail a white chocolate mocha, and even come to the counter without being coaxed. She smiles a little now, and still nervously shakes a lot.
l come here every week. Every Monday night I have about 24 minutes of downtime. This is almost awkward because I am not used to being in public without a child literally pulling at me, or a client figuratively (and sometimes literally) pulling at me. …but here I am. I enjoy my coffee, knock out a proposal, or sometimes just stare blankly and don’t do a thing – because I can.
Then today… I walked up to the counter. Becky was nowhere in sight. Instead there was a brunette with a perfect bun. Her back faced me as she confidently bustled about fixing the customer’s drink that stood between the counter and me. She had HUGE pearl earrings, and perfectly blushed cheek bones. She was just about perfect from the back. In my boredom I wondered if her face was as pretty as the rest of her. She turned around with a bright energetic smile, and sure enough, Violet was the complete package. She was even able to persuade me to try the new holiday flavored drink – WHICH I LOVED!
I took my spot and settled in. Out popped Becky from the back room. I almost didn’t recognize her. She had her hair in a beautiful side braid, she moved with confidence, wore a sincere smile, and she donned cherry red lipstick. I used to think Becky was a very pretty girl, but now she was stunningly gorgeous! Over the course of one short week Becky had transformed from a timid, shy, and dowdy, to beautiful, radiant, and confident. The energy in the coffee shop had changed – so had Becky. Violet’s demeanor, energy, and encouragement had inspired Becky to let her beauty shine, and to step forward in the same confidence that her new peer so easily exhibited.
There are two takeaways from Violet and Becky. The first one is something you can’t log into social media without being bombarded by; surround yourself with positive people that lift you up, they will influence you and mentor you in powerful ways. That being said, the second takeaway is quite the opposite. Although we are bombarded with little quotes telling us not to interact with people that are not positively impacting us, we need to remember that there is a time and a place where we need to be exposed to and interact with people that are not going to lift us up. There are negative Nancys and bashful Beckys that can easily pull down our spirit – fearful of the glass that appears to be half empty, and possibly a bad influence. Although it is true that we must be careful as a rotten apple spoils the barrel, following Violet’s lead, when we cross paths with someone that may not have the potential to enlighten or empower us, take the initiative to shine your light in their darkness. We are instructed to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” We preach the gospel from our everyday interactions – by loving more, by encouraging one another and building each other up, not by rejecting those that in our eyes are not worth our time or meet the expectations to be in our life. Let your light so shine, that men may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven. Lights don’t “shine” where there is already light, they shine the most in the darkness. Find darkness, and start shining. Be contagious! That is true empowerment. Well done Violet and Becky.