“Have you seen the movie, The Way?”
Two women near me were comparing movies and this one caught my attention because I had, indeed, seen it. (The rest all sounded like Woody Allen movie titles.) It was a brilliant movie with all of the things I love best, a sense of place, interesting food, amazing dialogue and Martin Sheen. The overhear prompted me to go back and look at the website for it where I was struck by the tagline at the top:
You don’t choose a life, you live one.
This idea of being driven by mission both intrigues and scares me. There is a loss of control inherent in the very idea of not having a choice… and attempting to be at peace with this has frequently eluded me.
Not so for others I know though. Some of the best artists, for example were practically, or actually, driven mad by their passion, whatever their medium- writing, canvas, stage. Passion, I believe, is the other side of mission. It is the living out of mission. The question is, how do we tap into our passion and do we have the courage to embrace it when we find it.
There are many different forms of mission, but one of the most obvious to recognize is the proselytizer. What I am coming to see, though, is that all missions are born of the same inner desire to be who we were born to be… in other words, to live our life rather than attempt to choose it.
One of my barista friends at Starbucks is a wonderful example of this. Raised in a family of missionaries, Justin is now leading his own missions to Prague. Justin, in fact, was born in Germany while his parents were on mission there with Cadence International (which provides Christian ministry for U.S. soldiers and their families stationed around the world).
Why Prague? For many years the Czech Republic was under communist rule where all organized religions, including Christianity, were persecuted. Now many missions go to rebuild the churches there. Setting up a missionary trip is
not an easy task for anyone, even assuming the support of a local church. But in this case it is even more daunting as Justin is in his early twenties and is drawing on his previous church in Colorado to help him. He has gone on missions with Bethany Evangelical Free Church before, but this will be the first one he has actually organized himself.
Still, 15 of his friends have agreed to go on this mission with him from July 8th to the 24th this year. As I write about this I am struck by the idea that 16 young adults have enough passion to spend part of their summer on a mission. I can’t imagine I would have had the courage to do this at that age.
Passion truly comes in many different forms. I feel grateful that over time I have found my calling, my mission if you will, in my writing. Through this I am no as scared as I used to be when I hear someone talk of their own personal mission. I understand it so much better now than I ever have before.
I wish Justin a ton of success with his own mission. I know it won’t be easy, not the least of which is because each individual on the team must fundraise to earn $2,400 in order to participate. Then again… it may not be the summer they choose, but the summer they live.
(Note: If you would like to donate to their cause or learn more about it you can contact Justin Schroeder at
“So I guess you heard about the changes?”
Uh oh… this wasn’t good. Everyone knows how I feel about change; and lately it has been coming at me fast and furious. In this case I had taken a vacation and once again my Starbucks was upsetting the apple cart.
The last time this happened I returned from my trip to find the whole store remodeled…. My favorite chairs were missing and everything seemed out of place. It threw me for a while, but eventually I grew to appreciate the
counter where I could sit and watch them make coffee drinks or the tall tables in the corner by the windows.
So, I am sure over time this new change will grow on me also. But, I should warn you, that it will probably affect you as well; because, in this case, it is the baristas who are changing. These people have become my friends… and more importantly have provided my very best overhears.
Allow me to demonstrate:
“I like to keep my washboard abs covered…. I don’t want to be that guy.”
“That’s where you find the unarmed bobble-head.”
“They should require everyone to work a service job at some point in their life.”
“I’m ready to retire before I’ve even started my career.”
and my all-time favorite…
“Good fore-noon to you!”
To all of my Starbucks friends who are moving on to greener pastures you should know, just like the comfy green chairs… you will be missed.
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