Week 2 Prompt: Mustard
She sat at the table with her attention focused on the notebook in front of her. Her latte sat in front of her, still untouched. She didn’t notice the bustle of people around her, even when she would lift her head and look through the window in front of her out to the street. Looking through everything to another place. Lost inside. Her brow furrowed as she returned to her writing.
Her eyes began to glisten as she continued to write, the tears forming in the corner when a hand reached out and touched her shoulder. She jumped, quickly wiping her eye as she turned to see a friend standing next to her. Smile ready in greeting.
“Hey, Eden! Fancy seeing you here. Can I join you?” she asked without waiting for an answer. “I’ll order coffee. Be right back.” With that, she turned toward the counter.
She was always like that, she exuded so much energy and good cheer, everywhere she went. She seemed to have a smile and a greeting for everyone, whether she knew them or not. It wasn’t an intrusion into her space. Sarah was a welcome relief. She floated across the café and invited a broad smile and a small laugh from the server behind the counter.
Turning back to her table Eden brushed her tawny hair behind her hair as she closed her notebook. She placed it back in her bag and pulled her coffee towards her. Taking a deep breath she allowed her shoulders to relax. Sarah sat down at the table just as she breathed out.
“That good, huh?”, Sarah had a very annoying way of seeing right through her. She put her elbow on the table, her head in her hands looking directly at her, waiting. Her green-eyed gaze was not one you could escape from but it was always warm and inviting. She wasn’t going to let her get out of speaking and Eden knew she would sit and listen as long as she needed her to.
“I don’t know,” her hand brushed through her hair as she tried to find words. “You don’t want to sit and hear me complain again. I am always boring you with my mess.”
Sarah smiled in response. “Really? You’re going to use that one. Haven’t we already spoken about this?”Sarah leaned back as her coffee arrived and was placed in front of her. “I ask because I want to know. If I didn’t want to hear it, I wouldn’t be sitting here.” Her hands moved around the mug in front of her.
“I know but I get sick of hearing myself. Why can’t I get past this? I am so sick of being stuck.” Eden took hold of her glass and ran her finger along the edge of the paper sleeve.
“We all experience hard seasons, Eden. You know that God is with you.” Sarah reached out and touched Eden’s arm.
Eden looked behind Sarah as she allowed the thoughts to sink in. She suddenly became aware of her surroundings and saw the people at the tables around her. Friends were catching up, men in suits discussed serious business with laptops and notepads, a mother and child colouring and a couple of people by themselves. All coming together over the golden brew, yet it wasn’t really about the coffee, it was about the relationships. About the space to come together, to connect. Her eyes caught another individual sitting by themselves. She smiled at them before turning back to face her friend.
“I know he is,” she said with a sigh, “but…”
“No! No buts, Eden,” Sarah leaned forward as she interrupted her.
Eden raised her hand in defense of her friend’s eagerness, “I just struggle to understand.” Sarah relaxed, “Like the message last week. I know he was talking about faith and the mustard seed and all that, but how does faith move a mountain?”
“Oh, I see,” Sarah held her mug in her hand as she sat thoughtfully, carefully considering the best way to explain things. “What you are really asking is how can you trust God in your,” she raised her hand and indicated with two fingers, “mess?”
Eden shrugged, “Maybe I am.”
The waitress interrupted the moment and cleared the empty cups. Sarah waited before leaning in for effect. “You know faith is not about having the power in ourselves to move literal mountains, it is about trusting the God who knows us, what we are going through, and that he will bring us through the trials.”
Eden had heard this before and so the words bypassed her heart, falling to the floor. She looked out the window once again. Her thoughts wondered but nothing stayed still long enough for her to register a single thought.
“Eden,” Sarah called her back to the conversation, holding out a fork for her. While Eden was lost in thought she had gone to get a piece of cake to share. “I thought you might need a little treat.”
Eden took hold of the fork with a little smile and shuffled her chair a little closer to Sarah’s. “You know me well,” a smile breaking across her face. “Carrot cake?”
“Yep, your fav,” Sarah replied with a grin before returning to the conversation. “Going back to the mustard seed.”
“Ah ha,” Eden said with a mouth full of carrot cake.
“Jesus was talking about the mustard seed because it is one of the smallest seeds that grows into a tree. It isn’t one of the biggest trees but it is a strong tree.” Eden nodded for her to continue. “Trees don’t worry about the storms that come at them, they just send their roots down deep to ensure they can continue to stand. They hold on during the storm. In reality, the more storms a tree faces, the stronger it becomes.”
Eden looked a little confused, “Okay but what has that got to do with the mustard seed?”
“Have you considered that you are the mustard seed?” Sarah paused for it to sink in. The thought processes were evident on Eden’s face. She was engaged and considering but hadn’t received the full revelation yet. Sarah continued, “If you, if each of us, are the mustard seed in this parable, then we are sitting in Jesus’ hand.”
A smile of understanding was stretching from ear to ear as the depth of the revelation dawned. “Yes, scripture states he holds us in the palm of his hand!” she declared excitedly, her face suddenly glowing brightly.
“Right,” Sarah continued. “We are small and insignificant when we start out, a seed, then Jesus plants us in the world. We come across storms of life but instead of putting our roots down deep in Jesus and trusting him, we start to worry, or worse, try to fix things ourselves.”
“Oh, Sarah! That is amazing. I understand. Our faith needs to be in Jesus ability to care for us, use us, love us. Not looking at ourselves and our abilities,” She paused for emphasis “Our weaknesses.” The revelation seemed to open up complete understanding in her mind. It seemed so obvious, and yet so complex. “You know, this is so profound. It changes how I see everything.”
Sarah just smiled as she could see the weight lift from her friend’s shoulders. She reflected on how far Eden had come, having had such a hard year. Eden couldn’t see just how well she was doing and was always so hard on herself. She reached out a hand and placed in on Eden’s arm.
“You know I need to write this down, Sarah,” Eden said already reaching into her bag. “I’m sorry but I just can’t let this one go.”
“Absolutely. I’m sure I will need the reminder sometime soon. I will leave you to it,” Sarah stood and leaned in to give her friend a firm hug. “You are amazing and so loved. Don’t you forget it! I will see you Friday.”
“Love you too.”
Sarah turned once she had reached the door, looking back. Eden was furiously writing once again but this time with light and joy shining as her hand tried hard to keep up with her thoughts. Sarah mumbled a prayer as she turned to walk out of the café. “Thank you, Lord. Your timing is always perfect.”