A Triple Espresso of Encouragement

The girl at Starbucks didn’t even know me, but she gave me one of the best birthday gifts of the day.

I begin every birthday at Starbucks, taking some time to journal over coffee and celebrate my birthday with God. This year I happened to be on the other side of town at a cafe I never visit.

I mentioned to the barista that it was my birthday, because I was supposed to get some free coffee, but she was a little confused about the process so I ended up paying for it myself.  No big deal.

The college girl who was preparing my drink overheard the whole thing, and when I went to pick up my coffee, she’d written two words in big looping cursive letters.  Happy Birthday.

It made my day. I think it got me because I wasn’t expecting it.  It’s awesome when your friends and family wish you happy birthday, but when a total stranger does it, it catches you off guard.

It made me think about how much “Happy Birthday” really means to me.

My friend Jen sent me a text that said, “HaPpY BiRtHdAy!!  I’m glad you were born.  Hope you feel extra loved today.”  I think that gets at the heart of it. We’re glad you were born.  You matter.  You life counts.

People need to hear that every day.  We live in a world that chews us up and spits us out.  Life is hard.  It’s easy to feel forgotten.  “Happy Birthday” reminds us we’re not.

I wonder how we could say, “Happy Birthday” to people the other 364 days of the year.  What kind of a difference could we make if we looked for one person each day and found a way to tell them that their life counts?

It doesn’t have to be much, just a text, a hug, or maybe just some old-fashioned words of encouragement over a free cup of coffee.

A tall dose affirmation with a double shot of kindness hits the spot every time.

©Jason Byerly 2011