collecting stories

I want to tell you a story…

Mr. CiCi's man. We don't know his real name. But he's tall, African American, wiry and exuberant, with the most beautiful dreads I have ever seen. (If I was honest, I am quite jealous of his hair. It's that beautiful.) And he works at CiCi's, a pizza place. Now, I don't know if you have a CiCi's in your area, but they have a really cheap pizza buffet. They are also kind of, well, cheesy. Each pizza has a little cheer that goes with it, and the employees, (your quintessential American teens) are supposed to shout these when one comes out of the oven. The employees usually do this with all the excitement of greeting an IRS man. And, well, the employees don't really do their job well. They are lacsidasical and half hearted in their service. Perhaps the most embarrasing for these teens is the fact that one of them is supposed to go stand on the street corner with a sign, to get people to turn in and eat there.
    But then there is Mr. CiCi, as my kids have taken to calling him. This man has had such an affect on our lives, and I don't even know his name. We can't drive past the street corner without a smile spreading across our face. It's hard to describe what makes him special to us. I mean, after all, he only works at CiCi's right? But he does so with such joy and verve that he truly brings delight to the people who interact with him. He will greet you at the door with a hearty hello, and he enters into the cheer chanting with gusto, and when he serves you he does it with a laugh and a smile. This one day we were there, my kids kept spilling their drinks, and I was so embarrassed. And honestly, if I was Mr. CiCi, I would have been pretty frustrated with my family. But he kept helping me mop it up, and he had me in fits of giggles the whole time, along with the kids. This man truly has a gift for bringing people joy. My favorite thing about Mr. CiCi is when he is assigned the street corner. Most of the other employees would stand behind the sign, as if to hide, furitively talking on their cell phone. Not this guy. No. I think he has an ipod on, or something, but he dances, and flips (on one hand!), jumps, moves, juggles the sign. You can't miss him as you drive past, and he always, always has a huge smile on his face. Watching him dance, I can help but think of what Eric Liddle said about running: "When I run, I feel God's pleasure." Except for Mr. CiCi, it's "When I dance, I feel God's pleasure." It's like watching a kite turn in the wind, or bird dipping on the air, just for the sheer joy of movement. That's what it's like watching him on his city street corner, dancing with the CiCi's sign.
    One Sunday morning, I was sitting in service, waiting for it to start. And as I glanced up, I watched Mr. CiCi walk in. (I should preface this with the fact that Grace is pretty big- with 4,000 coming through the door every weekend over four services.) It was like a light bulb flashing crazily in my head. I exclaimed out loud, "of course!" (at which my husband looked at my oddly, until I pointed out Mr. CiCi to him). It suddenly all made sense, as if it was the most natural thing in the world to see him walk into service. There had been a few discussions between James and I about Mr. CiCi- along of the lines of, "wow, how does he do it?" and "man, you can't forget him." It all became clear- of course, that's where the source of his joy came from! (I wish you could have seen this man worship- it was a sermon in and of itself.)  And boy, did that get me to thinking. Am I, as Christ follower, being a Mr. CiCi's man? Am I living my life in such a way that people are wondering what makes me tick, what the source of my joy is? Now, every time I pass him, I both smile and I am reminded. Be a CiCi's guy. Bring joy. 

One Comment

  • Kristina Alford

    Blessings of true joy, may you flip and dance this new year my friend. Please hug the dear little ones, who seem to be growing so big and fast…absolutely beautiful children…talk about true joy and dancing, we are so blessed as mamas!

Tell me what's on your heart~

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.