I once read that a coincidence is when God chooses to remain
The SPARROW at STARBUCKS
The song that silenced the cappuccino machine
It was chilly in Manhattan but warm inside the Starbucks shop on
51st street and Broadway, just a skip up from Time Square. Early
November weather in New York City holds only the slightest hint
of the bitter chill of late December and January, but it's enough
to send the masses crowding indoors to vie for available space and
warmth. For a musician, it's the most lucrative Starbucks location
in the world. I'm told, and consequently, the tips can be substantial
if you play your tunes right. Apparntly, we were striking all the right chords that night, because our basket was almost overflowing. It was
fun,low pressure gig-I was playing keyboard and singing backup for my
friend who also added rhythm with an arsenal of percussion instruments.
We mostly did pop songs from the '40s to the '90s with a few orginial
tunes thrown in. During our emotional rendition of the classic, "If
You Don't Know Me by Now," I noticed a lady sitting in one of the
lounge chairs across from me. She was swaying to the beat and singing along. After the tune was over, she approached me. "apologize for
singing along on that song. Did it bother you?" she asked. "No," I
replied. "We love it when the audience joins in. Would you next
selection?" To my delight , she accepted my invitation. "You choose,"
I said. "What are you in the mood to sing?" "Well...do you know any
hymns?" Hymns? This woman didn't know who she was dealing with. I
cut my teeth on hymns. Before I was even born, I was going to church.
I gave our guest singer a knowing look. "Name one." "Oh, I don't know. There are so many good ones. You pick one." "Okay," I repllied. "How about "His Eye is on the Sparrow"? My new friend was silent, her eyes averted. Then she fixed her eyes on mine again and again,"Yeah. Let's
do that one." She slowly nodded her head, put down her purse,
straightened her jacket and faced the center of the shop. With my
two-bar setup, she began to sing. Why should I be discouraged?
Why should the shsdows come? The audience of coffee drinkers was transfixed. Even the gurgling noises of the cappuccino machine ceased
as the employees stopped what they were doing to listen. The song rose to its conclusion. I sing because I'm happy; I sing because I'm free.
For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. When the last
note was sung, the applause crescendoed to a deafing roar that would
rivaled a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall. Embarrassed, the woman tried to shout over the din, "oh, y'all go back to your coffee! I didn't come in here to do a concert! I just came in here to get somethin' to drink, just like you!" But the ovation continued..I embraced my new friend.
"You, my dear, have made my whole year! That was beautiful!" "well its
funny that you picked that particular hymn, "she said. "Why is that?"
"Well..." she hesitated again, "that was my daughter's favorite song."
"Really!" I exclaimed. "Yes," she said, and then grabbed my hands. By
this time, the appllause had subsided and it was business as usual.. "She
was 16. She died of a brain tumor last week." I said the first thing that found its way through my stunned silence. "Are you going to be okay?"
She smiled through tear-filled eyes and squeezed my hands. "I'm gonna be okay. I've just got to keep trusting the Lord and singing his songs, and everything's gonna be just fine." She picked up her bag, gave me her card, and then she was gone. Was it just a coincidence that we happened to be singing in that particcular coffee shop on that particular November night? Coincidence that this wonderful lady just happened to walk into that particular shop? Coincidence that of all the hymns to choose from, I just happened to pick the very hymn that was the favorite of her daughter, who had died just the week before? I refuse to believe it.
2 weeks ago