Last week I went to the coffee shop that I sometimes go to work.
While waiting to order, I witnessed the pain of the barista because of
not understanding a man’s order in English. The man was simply saying “I want something cold.” and the barista was looking at random places, other than the man’s face. Signals of panicking… The bossy attitude of the man was not helping to the situation, which was escalating with not being understood. Total catastrophe… I decided to wait, instead of speaking, as I’m practicing not to interfere physically
before somebody verbally requests help. While waiting I prayed inside, “Allah sabır versin.” for the barista, looking at his face, meaning “May God give patience”.
The struggle continued for a minute, maybe less, and the woman next to the man turned to me and asked if I speak English. I said “yes” outside, “çok şükür” (thank God) inside. I did direct translation between parties for a while. Noticing the man wants more options, I said “I’m ordering espresso frappuccino usually. It’s cold and it’s good.” Çok şükür he got satisfied, he decided and ordered.
After the couple completed their order, which I learned later that they are at their honeymoon, I decided to order “cold brew” as the barista suggested that option to the man at the first place and got rejected, which I sensed was just for the sake of living the feelings of rejections in a way. The barista smiled at me, and said “This is our
gift, as you saved me from this situation.” I accepted by smiling.
The newly-wed woman asked for the help. I offered my help to the
pissed-off man who wants something that he doesn’t know exactly what it is. The gift, coffee which has a respect for 40 years in Anatolia, came to me from the barista, another part of the circle and the beautiful cycle of the gift got completed.
Although I forgot the cycle many times, and assumed that there is always one side who is giving and another side who is taking, I believe deeply the gift flows in circles. This is its true nature and it is reminded to the ones who forget like me by events like this.
In past, whenever I got stuck in linear exchange mentality for gift, I felt betrayed, humiliated, undervalued, not appreciated. Especially when the gift that I’m offering is not accepted, like the suggestion of the barista to the man. When my generosity didn’t meet other side’s need because of misunderstanding.
For me, being patient and not offering my help without asking are the
keys. It’s very hard to be still when I see someone in pain and do
nothing. But it’s their pain, it’s their decision to continue being in
pain or not. Not my pain, not my decision.
What I can do is waiting and praying.
Till our gifts find the flow, till we express our needs clearly and we are understood, till the cycle is completed, Allah hepimize sabır versin, may God give patience to us all.