Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Few Words in Favor of Loitering . . .

"Back in the day" people often gathered at drug stores and garages to meet friends as well as transact business. Filling your prescription or having your car serviced took time; everyone made allowances for it. In my hometown, Appleby's Drug Store provided a place for young and old alike to loiter and to catch up on "news".

Appleby's included a busy soda fountain. While waiting for their medications, retired gentlemen with a little time on their hands could sit on one of the six tall, padded bar stools and enjoy a cup of coffee. Many solutions to the world’s economic, moral, and foreign policy problems were bandied about on those stools.

Racks of magazines lined the wall opposite the soda fountain. Three small Formica-topped tables surrounded by wooden chairs with round, plastic-covered seats provided a convenient place to peruse the periodicals while waiting. Applebys didn’t seem to mind that only a few customers seemed to actually purchase the magazines.

The druggist worked behind a chest high barrier at the back of the store, moving methodically among the shelves of medications. Most customers stood and chatted with one of the three Applebys who filled their prescriptions.

Teens came to Appleby's after school and on Saturdays, not to get a prescription filled, but to sip a “Dishwater", and eat beer pretzels. A Dishwater consisted of a delicious concoction of vanilla syrup, carbonated water, and a little milk. Spinning back and forth on the bar stools, or sitting at the tables, teens pored over the movie magazines on display and gossiped with their friends.

Whether it was retirees discussing politics or teens re-hashing the latest school happenings, those few moments spent loitering in friendly conversation helped build a feeling of community.

It seems that in some cases loitering is good! We would definitely benefit from loitering a bit with God—talking about what’s on our minds and in our lives, enjoying His companionship, getting His "take" on things.

When did you last loiter with God? Need some ideas to get started? Try S.O.A.P.-- Rev. Wayne Cordeiro's recommendation for spending time with God:

  • Scripture: Start off with the Bible. Pick a reading plan and stick with it.
  • Observation: As you read, write down any observations that you have from the text.
  • Application: Based on what you have read…what should you do? Make this practical and realistic. Write it down and hold yourself accountable to it.
  • Prayer: Last but not least, spend some time with God in prayer. Confess and repent of any sins that were brought to light while you were reading. Spend time thanking God. Also spend some time in silence listening to God.

©2011 Pamela D. Williams