The Common Ground of Coffee

It’s funny, the seemingly mundane things God uses to bring us together.

I’ve been a morning person for as long as I can remember, probably because I am just like my mom, and she is the epitome of a morning person. As a child I would wake up at the crack of dawn and come gliding down the stairs, eager for the day to¬†begin.

But I learned early on that first we have coffee. I would curl up on the couch with my mom as she read her Bible, then watched the morning news, all while sipping on strong black coffee with two small spoonfuls of sugar.

I always asked her for a sip and never failed to give her that 5-year-old scrunched up, nose-wrinkled face at the bitter flavor, complaining that it, “tastes like the smell of logs.” Although I can actually still understand what I meant by that, I overcame that off-putting idea of coffee by my high school years and drank it regularly, more for its caffeine¬†than for its’ flavor.

Then through college and into my first year or two out in the real world, it served a different purpose for me. I learned to drink it black, and more than its’ flavor and its’ ability to help me function as a human throughout the day (although I’m thankful for those too), I have come to love the way it brings people together and the conversations it sparks between two, or three or four people who were previously strangers.

I can think of three of my most treasured friendships that were all commenced at small coffee shops over bottomless cups of warm caffeine.

Strangers who became shoulders to lean on, people to dream with, laugh with, cry with and to simply be with.

I think that when God created coffee he had more in mind than liquid energy and something that tastes like the smell of logs.

I believe that Jesus is the glue that binds relationships together, and I think God knew that at some point in time a simple cup of coffee would start to serve as a common ground for broken people to come together and start those relationships. To point each other towards Christ. And to wonder. And dream. And struggle together. And to be for and with one another. To live in community together.

This past week I’ve done a lot of this coffee drinking.

On Monday morning I drank coffee sitting around a flimsy table with four close friends while we brainstormed and dreamed but also had hard conversations, and continued navigating through life together.

On Tuesday I set across a Starbucks table, tall house blend in hand, with my friend Audrey and talked about the weight of our sin but the hope we have in Christ.

Then on Wednesday I sat again, at a window seat in a coffee shop with the same house blend, this time with my friend Annie, and dreamed about our mission trip to Haiti and the trust we will have to have in The Lord to get us there.

These are my favorite cups of coffee.

The ones where someone reaches across the table while tears well up in your eyes and says, I’m with you.

The ones that spur on wonder and awe of God’s creation and are full of questions about how telephones work, how glasses are made to help you see, how big the universe is and how thankful we are that God created such a beautiful and interesting world.

The ones where the person sitting across from you’s eyes light up as words come effortlessly flowing from their lips as they go on and on about their dreams and the things they are most passionate about.

The uncensored ones, raw conversations about our struggles and brokenness and fears that open up a line of trust, understanding, and forgiveness.

For all of this, I am abundantly thankful.

I am thankful that God uses things as nonchalant as a cup of coffee to break down walls and bring broken people together who would otherwise be tempted to isolation. I’m thankful for the communities God has knitted together in such creative, yet simple ways and the fruitful and inspiring conversations, dreams, and relationships that have blossomed from them.

Who would have thought all of that would come from a simple cup of coffee.

Thanks God.

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