Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry(James 1:19).

MO is at Black Rifle Coffee, Beyond Black is in the cup, Classic Rock is on the playlist, and God is in the room inviting watchers.

At first, Vanessa seems like a loner, shy and quiet, but there was a great backstory. She had a mysterious presence — kinda inviting — not intimidating or weird.

I wonder...

When I caught her eye, she smiled, and Abba whispered, "Talk to her."

So... I got up to get a refill and headed in her direction. As I walked by, I said, "Hi, I see you in here once in a while; my name is Ron. I'm the local story collector."

"I'm Vanessa," she replied. I really already knew her name, but she didn't know I knew. "I may not say much, but I see everything," she added.


I smiled, got my refill, and intentionally walked by her again.

"You're mysterious," I said, "I like that."

"I'm a watcher. I may not know things, but I see things and hear things. So... look out," she offered.

"WOW! I'll be on guard. Have you always been like this? Or is this a recent happening?" I asked, still standing.

"Please sit," she said, "No, I used to be a shy pretender, a poser, always worried about what people thought of me. Then, Rhonda showed up at our church. She was new and shy and quiet—like me. And, during our stand and greet time, I smiled at her... that's all, just smiled. She was one row back, and afterward, we walked out together. We didn't talk, and I still didn't know her name."

"From that time forward, we sat next to each other in church... we never said much, but we connected without words. She had this crazy question she always asked, 'Did you see that?'"

She introduced me to this life of witness-watching. I love it.
"She introduced me to this life of witness-watching. I love it."

"Then, one day, she was gone. Our minister said she died in her sleep."

"Now, I don't care what other people think; I don't have time for all that posing nonsense. Now, I watch... in honor of Rhonda; she showed me how and never knew it."

"That was years ago..." she added. "God has been working on me ever since. I see under masks, behind walls, through defenses, beyond the limits, inside truth, past the rage, over the rim, and under the skin. You're going to write about this, aren't you?"

I smiled, "That's a gift, and it makes you mysterious and inviting...God pushed me to talk to you... but you already know that."

She smiled as she got up to leave. "I'll be back," she said as the door closed behind her.

Abba, thanks for introducing me to Vanessa... I think we are going to be friends And we are... stranger friends.