Thursday, May 3, 2012

When the coffee's gone cold

I quit coffee a few months ago.  It was time.  Recently, though, I’ve been wondering what always draws me back in.  Why do I crave it?  It wasn’t the warmth; tea steps in rather nicely.  It wasn’t the caffeine; after it was gone, I felt better than before.  So, was it really just the liquid; or could it be something different entirely?   

What I have discovered is that coffee, for me, pivots on relationships.  It’s the cozy cup I hold when listening to the joys of best friends.  The drink I offer before tears flood beloved eyes, hoping the tangible warmth can be enough in those moments. It’s the excuse to see beautifully familiar faces again.  It’s the catalyst for getting to know new friends.   It’s the steaming liquid beside my journal and Bible, when it’s just Jesus and me.  When I can talk, openly, and He listens; when I grasp it in my hands, and really hear what He’s telling my heart. 

All of this beauty, all of this truth, all of this life,
poured out and shared over
such a simple liquid canvas.
At the end of a semester, the close of my first year in grad school, I’m craving coffee.  Not for the caffeine jolt [though the boost for finals wouldn’t be terrible], but for the vividness in those together times.  For the listening and being heard that happens around it.    
This season has been a trying one.  After so much involvement in ministry and the lives of people I’ve grown to love dearly, I’ve had to pull back, to withdraw from quite a bit of community.  I’ve had to be extremely selfish with my time, and how it’s spent; and I have felt the greed of it tugging in my heart more often than not.  I’ve spent most of my time learning, which is entirely different from listening.  I’ve spent a good deal of time forming opinions and presenting them, which is very unlike being heard.  And while it has been a season for exponential growth in my spirit in an expansive place, one in which my heart could grow into a new freedom; it has been a bit weary.  Lacking, just a bit, in the vibrancy of community.

A cup of java might just soothe that weariness away; let my spirit unfurl, and shake out stiff feathers.  If this is the case for me, how much more so is it for others?  Because, for all my self-imposed isolation, I have my core of people who won’t let me disappear entirely.  They keep calling, keep inviting; keep asking, even if it’s only a two-minute conversation, how I’m doing.  And they mean it.  And I know I’m loved.    

Which makes me wonder if love can really be as simple as saying, “let’s grab a coffee.”  Would that approach to community, to joining the lives of others, would that make a difference?  If instead of living horizontally-socio-economic lives, we spread our coffee times out among all the different strata of poor, rich, young, old, healthy, sick, believers, non, urban, rural.  Could we change something in this weary, lonely world?  If we looked one another in the eye, over a cup of joe, and said “you matter to me.”  Then shut up and listened.  And then let others do the same for us.

While it’s unlikely that this tiny gesture would be enough, it would be a start.  A window, opening in a soul otherwise fettered against hope or love.  I think we’re a society that is so lonely, we drive ourselves mad with distractions from this racking sadness pervasive in our hearts.  Everyone’s talking, but no one’s listening.  We all ache to be heard, to be known; but no one takes the time to truly know others.               

Perhaps a good cup of coffee could soothe some of that weariness away.  And open the door, just a bit, for love to break in to lonely and dying hearts. 

Are you willing to try to be that change with me?  Recognizing we won’t change the entire world over night; but hoping that we may change just one day for just one person. 

Look around today.  Whose existence is calling out to be noticed? 

          Who could you start to know, over a cup of coffee?


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