I was at a coffee shop last night anxiously looking over a teacher’s lesson plans. I arrived at a time when there was still a decent crowd of people a few hours earlier, but at 8:30 p.m. the place was practically empty. I felt myself become anxious because the shop was closing soon and I still had a ton of work to finish before tomorrow. (This feeling of not having enough time in the day to get everything done has lately become a routine for me.) I was typing away on my laptop when two couples suddenly walked in.
There was nothing peculiar about these couples. They didn’t stand out or do anything to be noticed. As they headed toward the cashier, I assumed they would pick up their coffee or treats and leave back out. They didn’t. After ordering, they came to my table, pulled out some chairs, and sat down. I felt as if time stopped just so that I can catch this moment.
I tried to keep working. I tried to stop staring, but I couldn’t help it. Their conversations were muffled, but there was something about this group of people that I was magnetically drawn to. Was it their drinks? Was it their age? I couldn’t figure it out. Then it hit me: It was their peaceful demeanor in the midst of my mental chaos just a few feet away.
I secretly watched them from the corner of my eye. I watched as the two women passed out napkins and sugar packets to everyone else. I glared when one of the men cut up pieces of the cake and distributed them to both of the women. I pretended not to see all the times that they laughed at each other’s humor. It was the apparent simplicity of their friendship that compelled me.
I often make things much more complicated than they need to be in my life. I sometimes sit and wonder how to get more out of my days and decrease my stress level. Watching these friends last night reminded me of an important lesson: Joy and satisfaction are gift wrapped in the simpler things of life. Sometimes we need to take a pause in our busyness to recognize that.