Micro-Post: A Birthday Postcard to Loved Ones

Dear Blog and Regular-Old Loved Ones:

Yesterday, October 9th, was my fifty-third birthday. At 8:30 a.m., as I was sipping at Starbucks, I received an inconspicuous present that I want to share with you.

Photo on 10-10-14 at 10.02 AM

This is what fifty-three looks like–beard probably six months away from eliminating any need for a collar or necktie.

I had just finished a refreshing, philosophical discussion with Star-buddy John about goodness, forgiveness, and consequences and was getting back to polishing a depressing blog post when an unsteady, elderly woman shuffled past my perch with a hot beverage. She must have given her cup a random squeeze because the lid popped off and hot whatever it was started spilling over her trembling hand. I love Starbucks, but if they make their lids any more flimsy, they may just as well go with Kleenex or phyllo dough. She looked like her car just crapped the bed at 2:00 a.m. in rural Wyoming (redundant?). Anyway, I did what all of you reading this would have done. I stood up, said, “Let me take that for you,” pressed the lid on, and carried the cup to her table. She thanked me, and I made a remark on those darned lids and went back to writing.


No, young lady and old lady . . . thank you!

As I sat there, though, my insides were calm and blessed. It felt like a gentle spirit breeze or a hug held for three extra seconds. Ah! In half-a-minute’s time, a young woman, maybe twenty-five, tapped me on the arm and handed me a gift card. “I saw what you did,” she said. “There’s $5 on this. We’re just not nice enough to each other in this world. Thank you.”

Hey, friends, this is not about me. I’m sitting guess where again this morning and thinking about the reason my soul knew healing after doing what all of us would have done: maybe we were built to look out for each other, so when we actually manage to do so, it feels like Eden–the place we were intended to be all along. Plenty of shade. Food enough for everybody. Kind faces everywhere you look.

Did the Loving Creator make us for grace and mercy? I hope so. I think so. That would mean there’s good hope for the world.


15 thoughts on “Micro-Post: A Birthday Postcard to Loved Ones

  1. Happy birthday, a day late, John. Doing the correct thing shouldn’t be such a rare occasion that someone would take notice. But you are the right guy to get the reward card. πŸ™‚


  2. Oh, happy belated bday and many more healthy, happy more!
    There really needs to be more kindness and respect for each other and as many know it must start in the home! You are so right when you say it feels like Eden!

  3. That beard is really getting to be something. Not everybody can grow one of those babies.
    I’m just glad to see you back to yourself, John. I missed you. Happy birthday, and happy wife, happy life, you better shave that thing if Kathy doesn’t like it.

  4. Happy 53rd, John! Mr. Enthusiasm turned the big 5-0 on Oct 2nd, and I will turn 48 on the 16th. I’m among a good crowd here.

    I’m not at all surprised the young woman bestowed a random act of kindness on you, after witness your RAK on the older woman. Kindness begets kindness.

    • Mr. Enthusiasm is 50, and you turned 48 yesterday? Holy buckets! I hope you made a bunch of noise and avoided a hangover.

      • No hangovers. 😦 Bot much noise either though. His bday landed the day before the house listing hit MLS so that was the main focus. Mine hit just as I had to face a major career decision.
        I think it’s fair to say we both get do overs. πŸ™‚

        • Hey, Nancy. I’m slow in responding to his comment, but you’ve been on my mind since I read it. My hope has been that you have some flexibility and comfort in making this career decision–you know, that it’s not a matter of well-being and health, all that. Oh, and by all means, do overs. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do, ma’am! Good thoughts your way, John

  5. Though I haven’t met you face to face, I am strongly drawn to you through your writing. Your stories remind me of who I want to be and who I want my daughter to emulate, while at the same time giving a glimpse into the nature of (even a good) man. You remind me that sometimes raw emotion is often not even seen by outsiders, but the perseverance of the soul to be GOOD in the face of anger, or sadness, or even just bewilderment, is a very POWERFUL thing. Happy (Belated) Birthday, John Coleman. Know that your ability to touch the lives of strangers is not limited to your general vicinity.

    • Hi, brother. Please know that your words mean a lot to me. I think about you often, your putting shoulder to wheel as a father. I hope you and yours are well and getting enough sleep! Peace, John

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