Starting Over

Rebecca Bevans, 24

On the first day of my new job at the coffee shop, I left the spouts open on the coffee carafes and ended up brewing several gallons of expensive coffee right onto the floor. Before I knew what I had done, my supervisor had already stopped the brewers and set up the mop for me. “Becca, look! We’re swimming in coffee!” she called out cheerfully.

“I’m sorry,” I mumbled, a lump forming in my throat, ready for a lecture on how much I had wasted.

coffee spouts2 TSP 480277864To my surprise, she simply handed me the mop and a rag and told me to clean up and start over. I had made a mistake, but so had everyone else at some point in their training. Later that day, I spilled a smoothie onto the countertop while trying to put the lid on. She merely laughed and told me to try again. Every time I was apologetic or embarrassed, she refused to let me dwell on my mistakes and forced me to look ahead, to start over.

When I expected judgment, she showed nothing but mercy. She had every right to criticize; as my trainer, it was her job to make sure I learned to do my job properly. The secret she knew, which I had yet to learn, was that the best way to teach me my job was not to judge, but to offer kind reminders when I lost track of what I was doing, loving praise when I did good work, and constant affirmation that I was valuable whether or not I made mistakes. I was special to her because I was me; and her acceptance would ultimately make me a better barista than if she had judged, criticized, or complained about my performance.

barista FTR TSP 80407133That was two years ago. Now I train the new hires; and every time new people make the same silly mistakes I did, I laugh and offer them a helping hand. I’ve seen every mess possible in our little shop; and after teaching so many new people, I’ve realized that we judge ourselves enough without others offering their judgments. I think that’s what Christ meant when he told us, “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matthew 7:1, KJV). Instead of being quick to criticize when others make mistakes, we can take comfort in the fact that everyone messes up pretty much all of the time, whether we realize it right away or not. Our mistakes don’t have to be embarrassing; instead, they can be endearing, sources of laughter and relief, as we slowly learn to embrace our shared humanity. My teacher was quick to forgive and slow to anger, and I try to follow her example when offering advice to new employees. I know I have been successful when the same employees offer to help when I make mistakes.



coffee with heart2 TSP 453449403DIG DEEPER

Christ taught us not to judge. When we deliberately choose not to pass judgment on others, we see beyond their current state to the people they will become in time with our love and acceptance. We become part of their journey. Rather than separating ourselves from one another through judgment, we come together as a community and ultimately become better people than we ever could be on our own.

PRAY: God, teach us to be slow to anger and quick to forgive. Amen.


Rebecca Bevans, 24 , lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.

—from devozine (July/August 2015). Copyright © 2015 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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