I’ve been working in the coffee industry for about a year now. Doing life in Seattle has been such a rad experience. I’ve met some really awesome people. Some of which I consider friends, some I consider family, and others customers.
As you may know, marijuana is now legal for recreational use in Seattle. I, myself, do not partake, but I have nothing against those who do. I just don’t think an altered mind is what Jesus wants from me personally, but hold absolutely no judgment against those who feel otherwise. Maybe it’s just the fact that there isn’t a ton of scientific proof of marijuana being genuinely bad for you, or maybe it’s the testimonies I’ve heard of it actually helping people’s health.
In Seattle, I see, hear, and smell the marijuana industry thriving, and it is clearly no longer a strictly medical commodity. Some of our neighbors here smoke weed- and as an inclusive people, we’ve got to learn to love all our neighbors alike.
Working for a specialty roaster and espresso bar in Seattle has a lot of advantages. As a bi-vocational pastor who is trying to authentically keep his hands in the community, it’s tempting to have a removed posture of “how can I “bless” this community?” Which is nice, but it’s so important to recognize the fact that the community is to to receive, accept, and love me as well, which I think is a blessing in itself.
The barista/customer relationship is unique. At some level, I’m just at work, and you’re just getting coffee. But on another level, we’re friends. I notice when you don’t have time to stop in and get coffee, and often times I miss our interactions–and when I say “this ones on me!”–I actually pay for your coffee out of my pocket.
Some regular customers actually invest in this type of relationship, and it’s clear that they care. I’ve begun to try to get to know some of these people by asking them questions like what they do for a living and what they do for fun.
Some of the nicest people I’ve gotten to know at work have been employees of the marijuana industry. They smile, genuinely ask how I’m doing, tip generously, and most importantly–they remember my name.
Maybe this experience teaches me to not judge a book by its cover, or whatever. Maybe it encourages me to keep an open posture towards these lovely peoples lifestyles. It helps me to remember that the kingdom of God is not as narrow as we’ve been taught. Some people live their lives differently than you, which may be uncomfortable at times. That’s okay.
Like I said, I don’t personally smoke marijuana. I don’t have any health needs that weed could meet, and I don’t even really enjoy it recreationally. However, some of my customers do. Some of my co-workers do. Some really good friends of mine do.
You aren’t called to tell people how to live their lives, and you definitely aren’t called to push your sober agenda onto anyone. You are called to be inclusive. You are called to love. You are called to relate.
So, may the Lord continue to provide, as you’ve been called God’s own. May the presence be ever clear to you on this day, and may Mystery plant in you a seed–that gives root to change.