Earlier this week a dear friend of mine made a date to get together for coffee at our favorite coffee shop. Actually, we may have other favorite shops, but this one has become the one that we always choose. Part of it is the location between our two homes. Part of it is the comfy faux leather chairs in the corner that we try to snag. We love coffee, but the coffee is really the opening act because getting together to talk is really the main event for us.
We have talked about many things back in “our corner” from marriage to parenting, our latest book choices, our spiritual lives, the latest ministry challenges, our hopes and dreams, our uncertainties, and foundational beliefs.
We take several hours to catch up and sip our favorite drinks and even though we spend two hours together, the conversation never stalls or winds down and we talk all the way to our cars. The coffee always runs out before the conversation. The finale of the conversation focuses on when we will be able to meet again for coffee.
What is it that draws so many of us to meet at a coffee shop for coffee to connect? I looked around our coffee shop this week and noted how many of the chairs were filled. There were the usual folks on laptops alone and seemingly hard at work, but there were so many spots where two people were doing the same thing as I was, enjoying the conversation and company of a friend. I have seen men connecting over a Bible study, college students meeting around a group project, and of course, girlfriends like us meeting together for the sheer joy of the time together.
Perhaps we choose the coffee shop because we have bought into the ads for Starbucks, Peets, Caribou or other companies. Perhaps we simply love coffee. Perhaps it is because the coffee shop is an oasis from everything else in our day. Perhaps holding a cup in our hand provides some comfort or reassurance as we sometimes share the deepest parts of our heart. Perhaps it provides the context for the real reason, that we enjoy connecting with one another in a relaxed environment and since we do so by appointment we actually set aside time to nourish relationship in the midst of our busy lives. We commit to it even if we need to keep circling the building for a parking spot or need to wait for two chairs to open up.
Getting together for coffee is actually code for, “I want to spend time with you” or “I want to share something with you”. The commitment and the appointment certainly also says something we also need to hear – “You matter to me and I value you”. It adds to a sense of community. That is key to our emotional, mental, relational, and spiritual selves.
Whatever way we may choose to connect or experience community with one another, the vital key is to make time to do it and let the mysterious process of nourishing our souls happen.
Jesus was the expert on this. As we read in the gospels we see the teaching to crowds, the healing of all sorts of maladies, the time alone with His Father, but do we also look at those connection times? They are tucked in before ministry and after time with the Father in Luke 6. They happen with his disciples, with his friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus as well as others.
I wonder. Would Jesus hang out at our favorite coffee shop sipping an espresso or latte if He walked the earth now? What a wondrous time that would be! But maybe we can still experience a small taste of that if we find a favorite spot, get our favorite coffee drink, and spend one-on-one time sharing ourselves with Him, catching up, finding out what is on His mind and not simply handing Him our prayer requests.