Wednesday, April 14, 2010

To Be Known

There is something inherent in all of us, I think, that longs to be known.

To be loved, to be understood, to be known.

I'm sure it stems from our need as people to be Known by the Creator and to Know Him, and in His infinite wisdom, He lets us catch a glimpse of what it is like to Know and be Known in our relationships with others. A close friend, a family member, a lover- as we know and are known in those relationships, we see a bit of the big picture and understand a little bit more.

We crave being known.

I always wanted to be known as a "regular"- and preferably, due to my love of coffee, a regular at a coffee shop. I wanted to walk in and be cheerfully greeted by name, my usual brew being prepared the second I walked in.

I loved the idea so much that, my senior year of college, I decided to make it happen, if only just for the last semester. As an RA in the dorm, I worked at the front desk for a few hours a week, earning a tiny little bit of pocket change. I was also student teaching, driving 20 minutes every morning to a nearby town. For that one semester, I stopped at Starbucks two or three mornings a week, chatting with the same baristas and enjoying the feeling of being known. At least six months after I'd graduated and moved away, I visisted some friends in my college town and, of course, stopped in for a cup of coffee. To my great delight, the baristas were happy to see me and still remembered my favorite drink! I had lived my dream.
Seven years later, in a different town, I go to the same Starbucks, but usually only once a week at the most. I see the same baristas every week- they're a friendly and entertaining group of people- but they don't know me. I smile as the "regulars" come in and are greeted by name and their coffee gets brewed immediately. I'm glad they're known.

These last two weeks, though, because of the whole kitchen-in-the-living room and no counters thing, I've been in a few more times. Yesterday I was chatting with the same barista I see every week as she fixed my coffee, and she waved at a guy who came in asking, "the usual?" Laughing, I told her about my college desire of being known as a regular. I grabbed my coffee, joked about seeing her again another day, and left for work. This morning I stopped in again- the same barista was there. After she'd taken my order, she looked at me again.

"You're the girl who wanted to be remembered. Your hair is wet today, otherwise I would have remembered you earlier."

I laughed.

"No big deal," I said. "It's just funny to me."

"Oh, it's on," she replied. "I'm going to remember you."

Smiling, I took my coffee and left.

Smiling, because perhaps, I'll get to be known again.

Smiling, because I had my favorite coffee in hand.

Disclaimer: I love coffee- and I do love Starbucks- but I'm not a Starbucks snob. I drink coffee from home every day except for Fridays- and then I wouldn't mind going to a "local" coffee shop, but the few around my area are more expensive than Starbucks. As for going so much this week, well, my insurance policy includes money for being "displaced"- so as long as I keep my receipts, I'll be paid back for my coffee.

Aside: This morning, of course, I went again, because I still have no kitchen. The woman in front of me wanted to know if the free brewed coffee in your own mug because it's tax day deal was true (it is) and the barista (I now know her name is Jo) greeted me and remembered my drink (!). So brewed-coffee woman and I were laughing and talking and I was explaining the joke- even the part where the kitchen is broken- while the man-barista (haven't learned his name yet) was listening and getting her her brew. When it was my turn, I had my card all ready - and for some nice reason, man-barista waved me on and didn't make me pay. Yeay. Good start to the day.


  1. Isn't that so true? We live our lives wanting to be known and remembered for something worthwhile. But sometimes we forget that being a child of God is the most worthwhile thing there is. He gives us the longing and settles us in His love. Beautiful, Beth.

  2. This is really a great post! Seriously, best post I've read in a while. It really brought a smile to my face. I've made up my mind that when I'm old I'm going to be one of the "regulars" at a breakfast food restaurant. My elderly grandparents are known wherever they go, and I want that too someday.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. This was a fantastic read. Thanks. :) And now to find me some Starbucks...

  4. Being sweet and nice definitely pays off! I cannot believe the photo of all the Starbucks, haha! It seems that way, that's for sure!

  5. You get 10 cents off if you bring your own cup/travel mug/beverage container. They have a button on their register for that.

  6. I think wanting to be known is a desire of all of ours. And the best part is that we are each intimately known by our Father in heaven - He knows us better than we even know ourselves! What comfort!


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