March 28, 2013 by Isaac Hovet
Starbucks. Alone. Ear buds and Coldplay. My business is mine. It is the Kingdom. It is preparation time. Thinking about all the souls that will be present as we present the most import truth of history. The resurrection of Jesus. Type. Read. Listen. Ponder. Sip.
Bursting through the double glass doors is the flurry of a large women decked out in Eugene paganism meets hippie meets living on the streets. Wild red hair. Wild eyes.
Loudly she protests about everything. Planted in the middle of a Starbucks living rooms seating arrangement, she lets fly on the other white, well-to-do patrons at Starbucks. Annoyed looks over the tops of laptops, eyes flashing.
Virginia tells no one listening everything about her.
I take my earbuds out. I am out of her line of sight. I fold up my MacBook. I gaze intently at her. I decide to try to listen. She doesn’t see me.
A fifty something directly across from her speaks up. He’s the direct, aggressive type. Probably businesses he’s created or led are still thriving. He’s on chapter 16 of the book in his hand. He’s annoyed. He says, we aren’t listening. Virginia says she knows and that she is talking to herself.
He suggests she go outside to talk to herself. She laughs. A gravelly, wounded laugh. I imagine that laugh is easily called upon as she endures insults, pain and abuse. Her smile is delightful, but it quickly squeezes back into a piercing grimace.
Now almost frothing with anger she continues her lively conversation with no one. She admits to multiple personalities. She knows the meaning of her given and assumed names. She’s Danish and Indian. Osborne is the name her family was given upon immigrating to the US. And Richard means, “Santa Claus.”
Again, white, annoyed man suggests she be quiet. She laughs.
Now I am seen…”WHAT?!” she says. Her eyes narrow. Adrenaline. Questions. What do I do? What would Jesus do? What would a social worker do? I tell her, to the dismay no doubt of the other patrons attempting to anonymously relax, “I am listening.” She takes me up on it.
She tells me more about her name Virginia. She lists the songs that use that name. She’s changed her name to Amber. She’s the descendant of a character from “Oh Brother Where art Thou?” She’s mad that they didn’t tell the rest of the story…but thats what they do…And then, she tells me about the bible…that most of it isn’t true, but what is true is the god Odin and his wife Virginia. In her eyes I see her searching for acceptance. I give it to her by listening. I pray that my love-filled heart can be experienced by her. I know this moment is going to be brief.
He takes the vacated seat of business-novel-man. Hat over his big, blue eyes. Half shaven face. Smartphone in hand. When he sits, I pay no attention, for Virginia has me fascinated. I wonder about her stories. I wonder what it is like to be her. I wonder if I can pray for her. I wonder if anyone loves her. I regret my judgements about so many people who are like her. I find myself thankful that Starbucks has given me a living room to entertain someone like Virginia.
I glance at twenty-something. He is smirking. He says something under his breath. Virginia hears. “WHAT?!”
“They’re coming for ya!” he whispers.
“Oh, yeah, they gonna drag you outta here.”
“What are you, a ‘PUNK?!’”
He continues to egg her on. He says, no one is listening. She replies, “I am talking TO HIM!” She points at me.
“He wants you gone, just like I do,” he says.
Virginia yells, “He is smiling at me!”
And I was. Truly, I was intrigued. I felt Jesus coming through me. I had been interrupted as I was preparing for the most important message of the year, but didn’t care a bit. God loves Virginia.
I speak up. “Dude, why are you picking on her?”
“Cuz, she’s stupid and she’s bugging me.”
Enter kind policeman. Loudly, but respectfully she begins to gather her belongings. The police officer knows her. He is kind, but firm. She walks over to me and shakes my hand and says, “Thank you for your kindness.”
He hand was smaller than I thought it would be. It was weaker. It was rough as I assumed it would be. I wonder how many times she’s raised that hand in defense or anger.
She leaves with two police officers.
And I confront twenty-something. I then get called a Punk-B**** Mother F***** about 12 times. He stands. He is in my face. “Your opinion of me means nothing!”
I walk away. I pray for Virginia. I pray for impatient businessman. I pray for angry twenty-something.
Demonic activity? Yes, in the pitiless barbs of a foolish young man. In the harsh annoyance of an older man. But, in Virginia I saw an acknowledgement of her sickness. And the strongholds of demons of generations. Sins of fathers. Sins of husbands. Her sins.
As she is escorted outside to be interviewed by police, she says, “meet me outside.” But, she is taken away by police.
We need the power of the resurrection. Not as an event, but as a constant renewal of death to life. A bunch of death in that faux-living room.
Glad to have met Virginia.
And the self-important ones that I could become.
Meet Virginia by Train
Well she wants to live her life
Then she thinks about her life
Pulls her hair back, as she screams
“I don’t really wanna live this life”
She only drinks coffee at midnight
When the moment is not right
Her timing is quite, unusual
You see her confidence is tragic, but her
And the shape of her body?
Meet Virgina I can’t wait to