On Saturday, we met Brian and Alicia. They were visiting from out of town. They spent a lot of time chatting with the teens who were volunteering in the shop on that day. Eventually, Brian asked me about the photo art that hangs on one of the walls in our coffee shop. He expressed his admiration for the art. I agreed and told him that I, in fact, intend to buy one of the photos myself one day. He told me that he had been visiting with the young people and was very impressed and moved by the mission and vision of LINCS. We chatted for a good 10 minutes. Bridge Street Coffee House was hosting a Gingerbread House event so it was pretty hectic in the shop that day. As I was wiping down tables, I came close to where he and his wife were sitting. He asked me, “What would happen if someone purchased the photo that you like?” I shrugged and said, “I guess she would just have to make me another one.” He raised his eyebrows but didn’t say anything else. I moved on with other business. More time had passed when Brian approached me again and said, “I’d like to buy one of the photos.” I said, “Great. Which one would you like to buy?” He said, “I’d like to buy the one that you like.” I said, “Ok, that’s great.” He responded, “No, I’d like to buy it for you! I want you to keep it.” I was moved beyond words. I asked him if he was serious. He assured me that he was. He said that he and his wife wanted to buy me this gift as a way of saying thank you for the work that I am doing with the youth. He said, “It’s our privilege to buy this Christmas Gift for you. We don’t get to do something like this very often and it gives us great pleasure to be able to do this.” I was so moved that I became emotional. I, of course, thanked him as much as I could.
I keep thinking about how amazing it is that people who are not from this area can spend an hour or so in the shop and be so moved by what they experience here that they would want to give back in some way. You cannot put in to words how amazing that is.
The other side to this story is that while I had hopes of buying the photo for myself, realistically, I wouldn’t be able to afford it. (I’m going to be awkwardly transparent here.) I feel compelled to do the work that I do for the youth even though it requires a financial sacrifice for me and my family. There are times when I feel envy that I cannot afford things that would be considered desires (as opposed to needs). This piece of art, for example, would never likely be within my budget.
I would often look at the photo on the wall and long for the day that I could afford to buy it. I would immediately feel conflicted about my compulsion to do the work that I do for the youth, and for my community; and wanting to provide nice things for my own family. After Brian and Alicia bought this photo for me, I felt like the Lord was saying to me: “Kathie, keep doing what you are doing. You are right where I want you to be. I know that you desire things like this work of art. I will provide it for you, but not in the way you would imagine. I am going to send complete strangers from half way across the nation to buy this art for you. In the end, both of you will be blessed, and my name will be glorified.”
There are more than 30 people who volunteer their time and talent to provide a warm, comfortable, peaceful place for people to gather. We affectionately refer to Bridge Street Coffee House as the community living room.
We hope you will stop in some day and experience the inexplicable vibe in our shop.