In the Summer of 2002 I was interested in participating in the up-coming Spring semester abroad program to Florence, Italy being offered through the local Junior College. My plan for the fall was to work full-time to save up enough money to go. I had recently moved in with family friends and began applying to a wide range of jobs near to their home. Among the many places I applied to, the three I was most interested in were: a florist shop, a bookstore and a nearby Starbucks. After turning in my applications I was diligent to personally check in with each of these places and was rewarded with an interview at all of them. A few days passed and then a week, then most of another.
Just as I was on the verge of giving up on hearing back from these, my top three, I received a call from Starbucks. The gal who interviewed me apologized for not getting back to me right away and wanted to know if I still wanted the job. “Most definitely!” was my emphatic reply. After a short exchange about what the next step would be, I hung up the phone and began celebrating, basking in the joy of knowing my job hunting days were finally over. Then the phone rang again. It was the florist. “Are you still interested in the job?” the manager asked. After a brief moment debating the possibility of working at both places I replied, “Interested? Yes! Available? No.” I thanked them for the offer and then hung up the phone shaking my head in wonder at God’s curious timing. After resuming my celebration for a few more minutes, I returned to what I had been doing. An hour or two passed by and then the phone rang again. This time it was the bookstore. I was sorry to have to turn down their offer but thanked them for it nonetheless.
Three calls. Three job offers. One afternoon.
I have absolutely no doubt in my mind: there was nothing accidental or serendipitous about the order in which the calls were received.
Had the florist or bookstore been the first to call me that day, the last 10 years of my life would likely have taken me in a very different direction. Had I not worked at Starbucks in 2002, I am fairly certain I would not have re-applied as I did, in 2006. Today, Sept. 19th, 2012, marks the 6th year anniversary of my re-hire date with Starbucks. Almost 4 years after receiving the phone calls, I returned to Starbucks and the wonderful world of coffee. Working at Starbucks has challenged and shaped me in so many ways. I have learned so much from each of the dozens of co-workers I have had the privilege of working with over the last six years and many of my customers as well. All the while my fascination and respect for coffee has grown into a passion seamlessly interwoven among my passions for Italy and baking.
An attribute of God I particularly love is how He doesn’t waste anything. Every experience and season of our lives He uses to accomplish His purposes and to make us more like Christ. While the Starbucks chapter of my life will come to an end this Spring when I leave for Sicily, I know the Lord will use the skills, experiences and passions He has been cultivating in me for His own purposes down the road. I am excited to see what He has in store.
When I was rehired at Starbucks, my plan was to be there for only a year, maybe two. Now, six years later, I must confess it is the latter four years that have been the sweetest. Years I wouldn’t trade for anything, not even Italy (did I really just say that?!). When I graduated college in 2006, I thought I was ready to get on a plane and move to Italy then. How the Lord knows best! The lessons learned and the people God has brought into my life to little by little, make me more like Jesus, have been so precious and oh so needed! How grateful I am the florist and bookstore were prevented from calling me sooner and for the truth of this proverb:
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” ~Proverbs 16:9