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The Spirituality of Missing Spoons

19 Nov Spiritual Formation | Comments Off on The Spirituality of Missing Spoons
The Spirituality of Missing Spoons

Several years ago I went to a women’s retreat.  It is a huge event.  I was there to learn, but also to teach an afternoon workshop – on spiritual formation.  Remember that fact – it will be important as my sad story unfolds.

There was a Starbucks close to our hotel, so during a break, I walked over and ordered a hot chocolate.

Simple enough, right?

I need to tell you something.  I don’t order the hot chocolate for the hot chocolate.  I order it for the whipped cream…seriously.

I ask them to please put whipped cream on and to leave the lid off, because anyone knows that if you put the lid on, the whipped cream begin to melt into the hot chocolate.  And I like whipped cream in its natural state (which to me is how it comes on a hot chocolate)…not melted down.

Guess what?  They put the lid on.  [Insert Stressor #1]  As soon as I got it, I pulled the lid off.  I was frustrated by the lapse of attention to my request, but I think I was able to conceal it.  In any case, the stage had been set for what followed.


With lid in hand, I, politely, asked for a spoon, because if you like whipped cream the way I do, you need to have a spoon to eat it before it disappears into the hot chocolate. (This is essentially like eating your dessert before you eat the vegetables.)

I asked for a spoon and you will never believe what the gal said to me.  “We don’t have any spoons.”  That’s it.  She didn’t apologize, she didn’t offer to go look in the back room.  She simply said, “We don’t have any spoons.”

How is it possible for Starbucks to not have spoons?  That’s like McDonald’s not having fries.  It just doesn’t happen.  My whipped cream was melting into the hot chocolate.  Time was of the essence, and they didn’t have a single spoon in the entire building?

I turned and looked at the stirring sticks.  Poor excuse for a spoon…can’t fit much whipped cream on the end of one of those.


I lost it.

I didn’t throw any tables or let loose with any expletives, but did I grumbled, louder than I should have, about how can it be possible for Starbucks to not have spoons? You bet I did. I slumped away, I pouted, I didn’t enjoy one sip of that bitter hot chocolate.

About 15 minutes after it happened, I thought to myself, “Have you lost your mind?”  Why would I ever think that was ok? In what world is it ok for someone to get that upset over the lack of a spoon or a missed opportunity to eat whipped cream?

In a moment of clarity, my heart broke over the utter ridiculousness of my response. There’s a little voice that might say, “Come on. It wasn’t that bad.”

But it was.  It revealed an embarrassing and willful piece of junk in my heart that had remained hidden underneath the surface before that incident.  If I cannot be faithful in such a little thing, how will I ever be faithful in a really tough situation?

As I think back on that scene, it occurs to me that I have no clue what that barista may have been going through. I gave no thought to this woman made in the image of God on the other side of the counter. I could only think about my melting whipped cream and missing spoon… on a spiritual retreat of all times!

The world is dying to see something different; something that defies explanation. They long for something to put their hope in.  I so want to be a part of showing them that hope through what they see in my life.  But I need to get out of the way.

I need to know what is of importance and what is not.

I need the attentiveness in the moment to know when my priorities are out of line and respond. I need to die to myself and embrace what God is doing in my heart.  May I yield more and more to the leading of the Holy Spirit and may it show in my life.

I won’t ask you to share your hot chocolate story, but I’m sure you’ve had one. As you look back on it, whatever it was, what is God inviting you to notice from that? What is He inviting you to leave in the past and what is He inviting you to take with you? May you yield more and more to the leading of the Holy Spirit and may it show in your life.

Grace and Peace,


Deb Turnow
Executive Director at Kavanna House
Deb Turnow is the Executive Director of Kavanna House, a spiritual formation center in York, Pa. Prior to that role, she was the Director of Spiritual Direction at Living Word Community Church in York. She has a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from York College in Pennsylvania and a M.A. in Spiritual Formation and Leadership from Spring Arbor University. She is also a graduate of the Spiritual Guidance Program at Shalem Institute. She is currently studying at San Francisco Theological Seminary. She is a certified spiritual director and also provides supervision for spiritual directors. She and her husband Jeff, live in York, PA.