Occasional eavesdropping is the best part of working at a coffee joint. Right now, there’s a woman relating a peculiarly sad family history behind me. She’s told her companion about how her father dropped dead and her mother got cancer. It’s also a story about religion, about Judaism. Being Jewish has been a key thread through her life. It helped form her identity as a young woman when hers was the only Jewish family in her suburban town. And now she works for an organization related to Jewish culture.
I love how willing most people are to tell everything about themselves. I have no idea how close a friend her companion is; I’d guess not very since she doesn’t know the family history. Maybe it’s a work friend, maybe an old schoolmate, maybe a lady from the same synagogue. But whatever the relationship is, this woman is totally at ease sharing her life story, her personal ties, her tragedies, her successes. I can’t see her and I don’t know her name, but I’m fascinated by what she’s saying. Clearly her companion is too, she keeps asking the pertinent questions to keep her talking.
There are stories everywhere. You can learn about spiritual identity and god in the cafe around the corner if you’re there at the right time and place. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to my work and my theology lesson.