11 November 2007

coffeeshop prophet

A funny thing happened on the way to Mass this morning ...

I went to Seattle yesterday to meet with Fr. C for catechism. Since the friend I was intending to stay with last night was working incredibly late, I decided to get a hotel in south Seattle. It seemed senseless (not to mention ecologically unsound) to make a 200-mile roundtrip twice in one weekend.

I checked out of my hotel this morning with plenty of time to spare, so I stopped in at a Tully's and ordered my double-tall soy latte, opened my laptop, and sipped my hot drink contentedly while checking e-mail and perusing blogs. Just two other people were there.

Opposite from me sat a 40-something man who, it appeared, was doing the same thing I was: enjoying hot coffee on a brisk autumn morning, checking e-mails and sending out some of his own. From his friendly banter with the baristas, I figured him for a regular.

I don't recall precisely how our conversation started, because I am still floored by what happened next. Having never met me and without knowing my name, he spoke with a stunning amount of accuracy about my life: about my faith, spirituality and the journey I'm on, my current challenges and worries, my education, my work, my interests, my writing, my relationships, and very specific and recent heartaches which I've disclosed to very few people. He told me that a friend had mistaken my goodness for weakness.

He had me pegged. Each word he spoke was an arrow that hit the bullseye. "Disconcerting" isn't quite the right word for what this was. If he hadn't been so correct in what he spoke, it would have been creepy. But it really wasn't; it was just true.

Am I that transparent that even a perfect stranger could read me from across a coffeeshop?

I introduced myself before I left. His name is Curtis. He shook my hand and smiled broadly at me before I walked to my car. He told me I'd be blessed, that I'd find what I was searching for.

Anyone else have something like this happen to them? What do you make of encounters such as these?


  1. WOW. That is amazing. Dude.

    I've not had an experience like that, at least not that I can remember (and I can imagine it's not something one would forget!). It really stokes me that this kind of thing can happen still these days. I was just thinking of the gift of prophecy this morning, actually, and about learning sometime in the past two years that it is still alive and well in the church, though maybe not in the way we would think. This particular prophet was sharing with me that prophecy has much to do with seeing a person and speaking encouragement to the road ahead for them, a word about their future but not necessarily in specifics, more on a heart level about who they really are. Is this the kind of thing it was for you?

    I'd be curious to know Curtis's own religious orientation.

    PS: I didn't realize you were two hours from Seattle! I still refer to you as "Kirsten, my friend who lives in Seattle" in my head. :)

  2. Dude, I know!! Isn't that weird?!

    When I asked, he told me he was raised Episcopalian, but since then had "sampled" a variety of faith practices.

    The encounter was encouraging; since I'm still sifting through what he said, I don't want to publish specifics, but yeah ... the last thing he said to me was a hopeful & encouraging word. That I would find my way & I that I would find what I dreamed of.

    Yeah, it's a bit of a drive to Seattle! :o) North Seattle (Space Needle, downtown, etc) is a mere 90 minutes, but with traffic and those few extra miles, 2 hours. What fun!! :o) It's easier to just call it all "Seattle" anyway!! ;o)

  3. You also strike me as someone who would thrive in Portland. :)

  4. i HAVE had that happen to me. prophecy wasn't something that was practiced in my baptist upbringing. but i visited a teeny, charismatic church with my sister once, and the pastor singled me out and spoke 'words' ove me that made me cry with their accuracy. they penetrated my heart and i felt like it was GOd himself, speaking to me and comforting me. i will never forget that, either!

    awesome that you had that experience, kirsten!

  5. Wow. Remember that before God we are all transparent...completely and totally.

    He acted in obedience to the call of God to speak what he spoke to you, sounds like a prophet. Remember that there are still those with the gift of prophecy walking the earth. Some will tell you it is dead since we have the new testament...I say hog wash.

    I have had the same sort of experience... in a coffee shop no less. Just remember to pray about it and let God show you if the words were his, or someone elses. There are false prophets out there and demonic activity that can sound right, and be totally wrong. In my case it was quite right, and quite personal. I would suspect it is right for you as well.

    Remember what he said always, write it in the walls of your heart and treasure it. God will use it as he reveals more to you!

  6. Blue -- yeah, I thought it was pretty trippy. I tend to be skeptical about these sorts of things, but now ... I don't know. It is just amazing to see people so dead-on with their firsthand assessment of you. Weird!!

    Gyrovague -- That was one of my first thoughts ... about how prophecy can come from God or from a minister of Satan (I think of the demon-possessed girl in Scripture who was prophesying too). I definitely need to weigh what he said against Scripture & "test the spirits". So yeah ... if these words are of God, I'm glad I got to be around to hear them.

    Thanks again for visiting, I always appreciate hearing your thoughts & encouragement!!

  7. Kirsten,

    I have been thinking about this post for a few days, and although I love the story and the possibilities over things said, as your friend (albeit blog friend) I feel the need to write to you about this post because it trips a trigger in me that I feel that I know very well. Bear with me if this isn't the case, cool?

    I would like to pose a question to you: what if this fellow spoke things that deeply troubled you—would you be so quick to accept him as a prophet of any sorts? Don't get me wrong, my friend, I think God can and does use many ways to get us to listen, but I personally am coming from a place where I have been on the wrong end of things—where spiritual authority was mishandled to the point that people (including me) would listen to those who spoke over them and had a tough time hearing the Holy Spirit because we were training ourselves to hear their voice. When it was blessing, wow, it was amazing. When it was control disguised as care or hard truth, it was damaging.

    We are promised "He (the Holy Spirit) will guide us into all the truth." Carefully, carefully, carefully choose and test the people you listen to about heart matters. (Did I say carefully?) Fruit or toot? Some folks are all toot.

    My best guess: he was lucky, profiled you correctly (yes, even from 2500 miles away you are an open book) and was looking for a little power, if you will, in being able to speak into your life. I think prophets in the OT had to be 100% correct or they met Mick and the rest of the Stones. Was he 100% on?

    On the flip side: I have recieved incredible counsel from people I barely know—except I gave them the pieces to my puzzle and somehow (through experience, supernatural guidance, Magic 8-Ball?) they knew how things could fit together in the bigger picture for me, and felt like they should tell me. One time this drastically changed the coarse of my life. But,like you said, and I agree with, I also measured their words against scripture and made sure they jived with the Spirit.

    My two-cents, my sister.

  8. 23 Degrees -- I'm totally tracking with you on this one. I'm still not sure what to make of the whole experience & still wonder if he was just incredibly good at reading people, or if he had incredible insight (a gift from God, or ... not a gift from God, you know??).

    I can't think of what he said in particular that would change my life. It's not necessarily from God just because what he spoke was factual. He gave me advice which I will not follow simply because it was something that didn't coincide with my own best judgment.

    I was just intrigued & on the fence about the whole matter, having never experienced anything remotely like this before. I wasn't ready to take his word's as God's but I was curious. And terribly aware also, that it's not only prophets and angels from heaven that prophesy.

    Thanks. :o)

  9. Kirsten, I admit it's intriguing! I feel the same way you and Christianne did at first blush, "Duuude!"

    Now if you dropped your napkin, went to pick it up and he disappeared...

    I remember walking into a house on a recent "house walk"and the young male greeter asked me if I was SWAT or a police officer. I asked him why, and he said he noticed I had on tactical boots. I told him I wasn't but I could tell he thought he was right. I would have burst his bubble if he knew just rode a motorcycle every day for my commute to work.

    Back to your story: Who knows who or what he is but what a great story and mystery, and yes, very trippy.

    I am very guarded about issues like this, can you tell? Thanks for listening, and thanks for telling the story, Kirsten.

  10. I tend to be guarded & skeptical about these matters too. I know they can happen, but part of the reason I put it out there was because it was so weird & I knew better than to jump to the conclusion that because this individual was right about so many things that he must be of God.

    Honestly, nothing about what he said will change my life or how I go about it. I hope I'm not so gullible as that!! ;o)