This is the last of my 3 Panera stories… I know you are saddened, but no worries – I am sure we will go to Panera again soon, and some sort of Chronicle will emerge out of our visit there…
After visiting the Grands in Oklahoma over the holidays, we set out for our long drive home. We made it 3 seconds down the road… and decided to turn around. After packing all of our crap up the night before, we had planned to leave by 10am the next morning. So, about 2 hours later, we were really leaving right on “Bab time”. We always hope to get somewhere sooner than we ever do. We have high expectations, but rarely meet them. We are okay with this fact about ourselves.
So, 3 seconds down the road, we realize we are already hungry for lunch and that our original plan of leaving at 10am – 10:30am at the latest – left us on Bab time leaving at noon and we really should have eaten lunch before we left the Grands house. We go back to their house, I knock on the door and enter the kitchen to find my mom saying, “I hope you didn’t come back for that coffee you left in our fridge…” She is saying this as she is pouring out $4 worth of peppermint mocha into her sink. GAAAAHHHH!!!!!! Crap!!! As she is pouring, I am remembering that I had left my leftover $4 mocha in her fridge and I had planned to re-warm it and take it with me!
Originally, my plan was to come into their house, slap together a few pb&j’s and be on the road again. But as I’m listening the $4 mocha drip down the drain, my plan is suddenly highjacked by a range of emotions. I hold in my frustration with my loss as I throw together the pb&j’s, holding back tears. Stay calm, Leslie. Calma-down-down. It’s not that big of a deal, you can buy another coffee, I tell myself. My mom didn’t know I had planned to keep the coffee – I had forgotten it on our original departure in the first place! Had we not decided to go back for pb&j’s, I would have never known the mocha was tossed away like a meaningless piece of trash. Don’t be upset with your mom, Leslie. Keep your cool. I tell my mom, “It’s no big deal, it’s not your fault, you didn’t know…” But even as I am speaking the words, there is a part of me that is still upset. I am not moving on…
A few more minutes down the road and P.A. decides he wants to stop by Taco Bueno. Ugh! I say, “Why can’t you just be okay with a pb&j?” Seriously! We really need to get on the road, get out of town, be done with this place already! But P.A. is stubborn, so we stop at Taco Bueno. The T.B. in my parents town is always busy. It is located across the street from the church I grew up in, so my youth group friends and I were regulars there. And it was always packed. And today was no exception.
We drive up and the drive thru is about 15 cars long, so P.A. decides to “run in” and get the food “real quick” while me & the 3 wee Babs wait in the car. HA! About 25 minutes later he returns with anxiety thinking I am going to deck him for making us stop at T.B. in the first place and for it taking so stinkin’ long to get our food. But my response isn’t anger. It is peace.
While P.A. was running into T.B. “real quick”, I had myself some quiet time with Jesus. The wee Babs were content eating their pb&j’s I had slapped together earlier. The smallest Bab was now sleeping, and I was journaling to Jesus. I was asking Him to take away the anger & disappointment I felt about “losing” my $4 mocha, the money wasted, the feelings I had toward my mom for accidentally throwing it away. I didn’t want to be upset. I didn’t want to feel those things (Romans 7:15). I didn’t want to feel ridiculous. There are so many things in life that produce emotion. A $4 mocha shouldn’t be one of them.
While P.A. was in T.B., God was doing a work in my heart and soul. He was changing my thoughts. He was settling a battle between my flesh & spirit. He was replacing my anger with His Peace.
So we set off on our journey. We finally left town. We made it to our half way stopping point – a Panera. We went inside, got settled, ordered our food, went to the bathroom and saw poop on the toilet seat. (btw, if you missed this chronicle, it was the one I posted a few days ago called “Poop and Panera”). After getting our food – this time at a much more timely rate (btw, if you missed this chronicle about our late food at Panera, read my recent post called “Back off old lady”), I realized Panera was prepping to close. Oh no! I’d better order my coffee for the rest of the evening’s journey. I went up to the register and noticed they all said “closed”. Oh no!… But I wasn’t going to flip out. I calmly asked the Panera worker if I could still order a peppermint mocha and I would pay cash, but didn’t need any change. He said, “Sure.” He made me the best peppermint mocha I’ve ever had from Panera. And he gave it to me. For Free.
Whoa. I was floored and thankful. After the fit I threw earlier behind gritted teeth, a battle in my mind, and anger in my heart… God replaced my $4 mocha. I felt like He was telling me, “I see and care about every detail of your life. Even the menial ones. Trust Me.” What a gift.
Some of you reading this might think, who cares about a $4 mocha? Why would you get upset about that in the first place? Why would you even take the time to write a blog post about it?… But what are the menial things you value? a tv show? maybe you get upset when your child is wanting your attention while you’re trying to watch? a material possession you want? maybe you get upset because you can’t have it? or even time wasted on something you regret doing?
Many times our anger is exhibited as an underlying lack of Trust. We lack Trusting God and that He knows what is best and He is taking care of our every need, the menial ones and the most important ones. Matthew 6:25-34. God is always teaching me how to trust in Him. He really does care about my $4 mocha.