The Sparrow at Starbucks

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The  SPARROW at STARBUCKS
The  song that silenced the cappuccino machine

It was chilly in Manhattan but warm inside the  Starbucks shop on 51st Street and Broadway, just a skip up from Times  Square . Early November weather in New York City holds only the slightest  hint of the bitter chill of late December and January, but  it’s enough to send the masses  crowding indoors to vie for available space and warmth.
For a  musician, it’s the most lucrative Starbucks location in the world, I’m  told, and consequently, the tips can be substantial if you play your tunes  right. Apparently, we were  striking all the right chords that night, because our basket was almost  overflowing. It was a fun, low-pressure gig – I was playing keyboard and  singing backup for my friend who also added rhythm with an arsenal of  percussion instruments. We mostly did pop songs from the ’40s to the ’90s  with a few original tunes thrown in. During our emotional rendition of the  classic, “If You Don’t Know Me by Now,” I noticed a lady sitting in one of  the lounge chairs across from me. She was swaying to the beat and singing  along.
After the tune was over, she approached me. “I apologize for  singing along on that song. Did it bother you?” she asked. “No,” I  replied. “We love it when the audience joins in. Would you like to sing up  front on the next selection?”
To my delight, she accepted my  invitation.. “You choose,” I said. “What are you in the mood to  sing?”
“Well. … do you know any hymns?”
Hymns? This woman  didn’t know who she was dealing with. I cut my teeth on hymns. Before I  was even born, I was going to church. I gave our guest singer a knowing  look. “Name one.”
“Oh, I don’t know. There are so many good ones.  You pick one.”
“Okay,” I replied. “How about ‘His Eye is on the  Sparrow’?”
My new friend was silent, her eyes averted. Then she  fixed her eyes on mine again and said, “Yeah. Let’s do that one.” She  slowly nodded her head, put down her purse, straightened her jacket and  faced the center of the shop. With my two-bar setup, she began to  sing.
Why should I be discouraged? Why should the shadows  come?
The audience of  coffee drinkers was transfixed. Even the gurgling noises of the cappuccino  machine ceased as the employees stopped what they were doing to listen.  The song rose to its conclusion.
I sing because I’m happy; I sing  because I’m free. For His eye is  on the sparrow And I know He watches me.
When the last note was  sung, the applause crescendoed to a deafening roar that would have rivaled  a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall. Embarrassed, the woman tried to shout  over the din, “Oh, y’all go back to your coffee! I didn’t come in here to  do a concert! I just came in here to get somethin’ to drink, just like  you!” But the ovation continued..
I embraced my new friend. “You,  my dear, have made my whole year! That was beautiful!”
“Well, it’s  funny that you picked that  particular hymn,” she said.
“Why is that?”
“Well . ..” she  hesitated again, “that was my daughter’s favorite song.”
“Really!”  I exclaimed.
“Yes,” she said, and then grabbed my hands. By this  time, the applause had subsided and it was business as usual.. “She was  16. She died of a brain tumor last week.”
I said the first thing  that found its way through my stunned silence. “Are you going to be  okay?”
She smiled through tear-filled eyes and squeezed my hands.  “I’m gonna be okay. I’ve just got to keep trusting the Lord and singing  his songs, and everything’s gonna be just fine.” She picked up her bag,  gave me her card, and then she was gone.
Was it just a coincidence  that we happened to be singing in that particular coffee shop on that  particular November night? Coincidence that this wonderful lady just  happened to walk into that particular shop? Coincidence that of all the  hymns to choose from, I just happened to pick the very hymn that was the  favorite of her daughter, who had died just the week before? I refuse to believe it.  
  
God has been arranging  encounters in human history since the beginning of time, and it’s no  stretch for me to imagine that God could reach into a coffee  shop in midtown Manhattan and turn an ordinary gig into a  revival. It was a great reminder  that if we keep trusting God and singing the songs, everything’s gonna be  okay.
  
The next  time you feel like GOD can’t use YOU, just remember…
Noah was a drunk
Abraham was too  old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a  liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph  was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was  afraid
Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer
Rahab was a  prostitute
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
David had an affair  and was a murderer
Elijah was suicidal
Isaiah preached naked
Jonah ran from  God
Naomi was a widow
Job went bankrupt
John the Baptist ate  bugs
Peter denied Christ
The Disciples fell asleep while  praying
Martha worried about everything
The Samaritan woman was  divorced, more than once
Zaccheus was too small
Paul was too  religious
Timothy had an ulcer…
AND Lazarus was dead!
No  more excuses now!! God can use you to your full potential. Besides you  aren’t the message, you are just the messenger.
God bless you by  passing this on to someone else, if you’d like.
There is NO LUCK  attached.
If you delete this, it’s okay: God’s Love Is Not Dependent On  E-Mail.
H/T to my darlin’ neighbor, Charlotte and whoever sent her this email!
~LTG

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0 responses to “The Sparrow at Starbucks

  1. Love this post : )
    breakfast for my soul

     
  2. lowtechgrannie

    Steve, I was thinking to same thing about that list. It covers the whole range of frailties, sins and human failings, doesn’t it?

     
  3. What a lovely story! Not knowing the song, I looked it up on YouTube:

     
  4. This has always been one of my favorite songs. I chose it for my younger brother’s funeral six years ago. It was one on the first solos our oldest daughter sang in church after she started voice lessons. I still love to play it on the piano when I am stressed.

     
  5. Love the Lord, your God, with all of your mind, with all of your heart and all of your strength.

     
  6. Amen. Steve! I hear ya, brother!!

     

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