Recently we began putting “our world is better with you in it” and “thank you for being our friend” stickers on our to-go cups and boxes. We wanted to communicate the feelings and desires in our hearts to our Friends who may not have the time to eat and drink in house. Friend, if you have visited our coffee shop once or one hundred times over the course of our two plus years, we want you to know that you are welcome here, that you matter to us, and that you are loved.
I often look out and see such a wide variety of people in our shop. If you watch the news or only check Facebook to discuss the divisive issues such as politics, religion, and college football, you won’t get to see the things that I see every day. You won’t get to experience the beauty that arises from the very foundation like I got to see one day earlier this month.
A few weeks ago, people put aside everything to help a stranger. Without going into too much detail, we had a new customer experience a medical emergency in front of her children and a shop full of people who had never met each other. That day I truly witnessed and immersed myself into a true community of love, tenderness, and compassion. Mother Teresa’s quote tattooed on my arm shone through in my very shop: “We belong to each other.” Politics, religion, race, and gender went out the window. That day a black woman held a white woman who was covered in tattoos while she seized violently. A woman called her own wife for help locating a next of kin for the injured party. An atheist held the door for a Christian as he wheeled the stretcher in. That day a mother scooped up two children that were not hers and held them tightly as they watched their mother in a crisis. A stranger paid the tab for the person behind her. The store a few doors down from us donated snacks and drinks to calm a crying child’s fears. A stranger held the hand of a young boy to keep his mind off of the flashing lights. A stranger kissed the forehead of a sleeping child who had found comfort in strong arms. A women wiped tears and felt for a pulse of someone who could not help herself. People worked together in a way that the media will tell you is impossible. People of all races, backgrounds, and beliefs formed a community of helpers. For a few hours, money did not have the loudest voice in the room; in fact, money did not speak at all. That morning, no one thought for even a second about themselves. It was a beautiful thing to witness in the face of chaos. I cannot get that morning out of my head or my heart. It was truly a day I will never forget because the feelings of love and friendship were so palpable. It was another reminder that there is still so much good in our world. That day, more than ever before, we wanted to say “Thank you for being our Friend.”
Why do we want to convey the fact that “Our world is better with you in it?” Because the suicide statistics in our country are at an overwhelming high. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (ASFP), an average of 123 Americans die by suicide every single day. That is 123 lives that have meaning. That is an average of 45,000 souls lost each year. The statistics are a sobering reminder that we are all connected and that we are not alone, even in the moments when we think we are. If our little corner of the world can bring a smile to your face, a flutter to your heart, and a warm hug in a mug, then we are accomplishing what we set out to do. In a world where Mother Teresa’s quote still rings true, remember that “we belong to each other.”
Thank you for being our Friend. Our world is better with you in it. You are loved!
– Jaimie E. Miller