Let me begin by saying I do not spend a lot of time in coffee shops. I drink coffee all the time and buy Americanos almost every day at Café 52, but I’m not really drawn to the environment of coffee shops. Despite this, I was hit with some interesting thoughts when I was picking up an Americano the other day at Blue Sail Coffee.
It was a Sunday afternoon, and I was waiting for my to-go order. I do not go to this coffee shop often enough to know what a normal crowd looks like there, but on this specific day, it was packed full of people.
Almost everybody had a computer that was glowing with some homework assignment demanding their attention, and when I saw their screens displaying unique messages in unison, it hit me that every one of these students has their own assignments that are just as important and just as stressful as mine are to me.
How many of these students were studying for science? Was someone there trying to memorize definitions for a big exam the next day? Maybe there were people whose heads were spinning trying to work through accounting homework, or some who were attempting to understand some new formula in algebra.
With these assignments come classes. I wonder how many of these students are enjoying this semester’s classes. How many are boasting a strong A? How many are just trying to pass with a D? Maybe there were a few who were considering dropping out, and maybe some were finding new passions from the classes they are taking.
With these classes comes a degree and with these degrees come goals. What are these students’ goals? Are they hoping to start a business, build a nonprofit, change lives as a teacher, write books, make new discoveries? Will any of these students sitting in this one, small coffee shop someday be saving people’s lives as doctors or defending wrongly accused suspects in court as lawyers? Was I standing in the presence of future senators or enjoying coffee with the next John Grisham or Stan Lee? Would somebody at that coffee shop someday change the world?
Are these people at the coffee shop happy? Are they studying alone or with friends sitting by their side? Do they have purpose? Do they have hope?
All these people together are nothing more than a crowded coffee shop, but as individuals they are so much more.
Maybe time spent in this little building surrounded by people is time spent among other individuals. Maybe these individuals have just as much individuality as each one of us. Maybe they have just as big of goals and just as big of struggles. Maybe these people in this building have greatness building in them.
Then again, maybe this is just another coffee shop on a Sunday afternoon.