Whispers of Love

I was reading a story about a new mother who just had twins.  Lots of people came to see them in the hospital and as well meaning people do, they would hold one of the twins and say in their baby voice something like, “You look like you are going to be a football player.”  The mother would gently take her baby back into her arms and whisper, “don’t listen to them, you can be anything you want to be.” I think I will probably be that type of mother.  The type of mother who is overly protective about the words society tries to whisper into my sweet baby’s ear.  Because despite the saying, words have the power to hurt us more than sticks and stones ever could.

I like to think that God is that type of father too.  Society doesn’t stop labeling us once we grow up.  It seems that everyone everywhere has an opinion on what type of person we are or should be.  Sometimes they keep it to themselves, and sometimes they feel the need to let us know we are not doing a good enough job of being ourselves. It is impossible to escape this feeling that we are not enough – that we are not doing enough – that we do not have what it takes to ever be enough.

It is in those moments that I believe God pulls us into our arms starts whispering love back into our tattered soul.   He whispers for us not to listen to them because he created us to be smart, loved and valuable.  He whispers that He has made us to do wonderful things with our lives and no one but Him can tell us otherwise. Continue reading

For John

I think the hardest thing about leaving Caribou Coffee was leaving behind the regulars that I had gotten to know well.  Sure there were the ones that I that I purposely hid from in the back, but there were also the ones that I loved seeing everyday.  They just had a way of making you smile or just treating you with a since of dignity that one does not always get as a barista.

In a sense, our Caribou regulars became like close friends.   Only they were the type of friends you know by drink order and not by their actually name.  As baristas, we watched many hours of their life in Caribou.  It was like getting an inside peek into the movie of their life.  We got to watch as they drank gallons of mango black tea trying to finish their masters thesis.  We watched them fall in love on their first date, and cried as we watched their break up.  We knew more about their lives than you would probably want your barista to know.

But my favorite regulars of all of my favorites were this endearing older gentlemen that came in every weekday morning.  They were like a band of brothers laughing and aruging as they sat at the same table everyday.  I like to think that I was also their favorite barista.  It didn’t matter if I wasn’t working front that morning, I took care of them.  Even if it was just me whispering over the headset to the new girl, “citron green tea in a mug, medium dark roast and don’t you dare put a lid on it.”  I can’t put into words why these guys touched me so much, I only know that they did.

I stopped into Caribou about a month ago one morning before work.  I had seen these guys in months and I wasn’t sure if they would remember me.  I saw them sitting there like a perfect picture I had never left.  They were all happy to see me and fussed grandfatherly.  They told me that being a paralegal suited me, but that being a lawyer would suit me better.  They asked if I had made a decision about law school yet, and offered me about five hundred references for when (when not if) I go to law school.  I was reminded again why I was so touched by them.  They were just so endearing, and they cared about an ex barista they barely knew.

One of them was named John and some of the newer baristas thought he was cranky.  I guess could see how some might see him as a little cranky, but I never saw him that way.  Sure he could be gruff at times, but in the way of someone who is weathered and storied not someone who is mean.  Mostly he just got upset when the new people would put a lid on his coffee.  I never did though so he liked me.  I could always see the slight sigh of relief when he walked in and saw that I was working.  I would have his order ready for him before he got to the counter and his eyes would smile like we shared a secret every time I remembered to keep his lid off.  He would give me his money and then share bits and pieces of his knowledge and wisdom.  I never thought much about our exchanges until one of my old coworkers showed me this picture.  She told me John had passed away suddenly from a heart attack and that they tipped over his favorite chair in his memory.  It just broke my heart.

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I don’t think that death is something we ever get use to.  Whether it be the death of a near stranger or the reminder of the death of a dear one we lost years ago, death still crashes into our hearts in a way that makes us believe something is trying to rip our hearts from us.

So for John, thank you for your smile everyday.  Thank you for sharing bits and pieces of your wisdom and knowledge.  Thank you for always treating me with dignity and respect.  Thank you for teaching me that the way we interact with the people we see everyday matters, because our influence on the lives of those around us matters.  Thank you for showing me how you saw people as people and not just a means to an end.  Because you knew how easily someone can come into your life and touch it in a way that you are not the same after they have left.  For John, thank you.  You will be missed.

No Use Crying Over Spilled Milk

“On a scale of 1 to 10 how bad is your pain?”

“I mean for neck pain it is probably like a 7, but for normal pain pain it is like a 4.”

“Describe your pain for me.”

“Umm its like here and like uhh a dull tight ache.”

“Is it worse on one side.”

“Umm . . . *tilts head side to side* I’m not sure.”

“Are there any activities that make it worse?”

“Uhh . . . sitting?”

“How often do you feel pain?”

Oh for crying out loud “I don’t know.”

I recently have started seeing a chiropractor because my neck would always be sore which would cause me to have horrible headaches on a pretty regular basis.  I am not sure what caused it.  Maybe it was sitting at a desk for eight hours every day, maybe it was clinch sparring in Muay Thai, maybe it is because I stubbornly refuse to sleep on my back, or maybe it is just because when I get stressed I put all of that tension in my neck.  The answer is probably d) all of the above.  I didn’t know and honestly I didn’t really care.  All I knew is that I hurt all the time and I wanted it to stop.

Every time before I saw my chiropractor I would have to sit through this long list of ridiculous questions, think about my pain, and try to describe it to a stranger.  But I knew that the more detail I could give them, the better they would be able to help me.  So I endured it, and I thought about my pain. And when you think about pain for long enough you realize that the only purpose that pain serves is to let us know something is wrong.  Pain is our body’s way of letting us know, “Hey, you should probably pay attention to this.”

Continue reading

Dear Heart, the World Needs Your Face

I am not a morning person.  At all.  I am the person who plans 20 minutes of hitting snooze into my morning. This is a typical morning of waking up looks like in life of Lori Rensink.

*alarm goes off*

Groans

*hits snooze*

*hits snooze*

I really need to get up

*hits snooze*

Lori Marie Rensink get yourself out of bed right now

Noooooooo

*Curls into blankets as a last chance desperate hope that I don’t have to get out of bed yet*

There is coffee . . . warm delicious coffee

Ugh fine

I then proceed zombie like to get ready and drive myself to work, clutching dearly to my coffee like a lifeline.  Just when I start wishing I could go crawl back in bed I reach downtown, and it is just so achingly beautiful.

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The sun is rising filling the world with color and light.  The birds are chirping busily as they have been awake for hours already.  The bell tower chimes and it is the moment when that makes me ready for another day.  In that moment the world awakens and I am very glad that I got out of bed.  Let’s be real though, I will still take my daily nap in the elevator on the way up to my office.  I am not narcissistic thinking the world needs me to go on.  I will go about my day making very little impact on the world around.  At least that is how it seems.

I go about my day making no difference at all but in slow subtle ways making all of the difference in the world.

Again not trying to be narcissistic, because I don’t think I am alone in feeling this way.  We all wake up with great ambitions to change the world and impact the lives of everyone we encounter.  Only to end up tired and irritable, feeling like we did not make much of a difference at all.  But do not count yourself so small dear heart.  You going about your life being you has impacted this world more than you will ever realize.

The world needs your face.

The world needs you.

Reflect for one moment on all of the wonderful people who have influence your life in some way.  Everyone from the teacher who was the first one to believe in you, to the barista who had a horrible week but still gave you the smile that made your day.  You have had a significant number of people who have influenced your life.  They will probably never know the depth of their influence on your life.  In turn, you will probably never know the depth of influence your life had on those around you.  But that does not mean it does not exist. 

Do not think for one moment that your life doesn’t matter, or that you will never make an impact on this world.  Let me tell you a secret: your life has already mattered. You have already made an impact.

Do not count yourself so small dear heart.

You are magnificent, beautifully created in the hands of the one who knows even the deepest and dustiest corners of your soul.  And you know the best part?  Despite the fact that you snapped at that barista today for getting your drink wrong, despite the fact that you feel completely over whelmed and self adsorbed, and despite the fact that you do not think yourself capable of even having the smallest it of influence.  He still smiles every morning when you wake up.  Because you are magnificent, and He sees the tiny ways that you make this world a better place, every day.

Do not count yourself so small dear heart, the world needs you.